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Radio Remarks on Voluntary National Testing for Basic Education Skills

October 20, 1997

A new study released by the Department of Education today confirms what most of us knew instinctively already: Students, especially low income students, who challenge themselves with rigorous math and science courses in high school are much more likely to go on to college.

I've worked hard to make college affordable for all Americans. Our increased Pell grants and work-study positions, the new HOPE scholarship tax credits for the first 2 years of college, and other tax credits in education IRA's for the remaining years, graduate school, and other training, all these will truly open the doors of college to all who are willing to work for it.

We've addressed the economic barriers. Now we have to tackle the academic ones. While the studies show that taking algebra in middle school was essential to preparing for advanced math and science classes, just 25 percent of our eighth graders took algebra in 1996. We must do better. That's why I call upon all Americans to support our voluntary national tests for fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math, to ensure that all our children meet the high standards of academic excellence they'll need to succeed in tomorrow's world. Our math test will make sure our children master algebra and prepare for math and science courses that lead to college.

I call upon Congress to end the delays. Our children are counting on us.

NOTE: These remarks were recorded at 9:43 a.m. on October 17 in Room 2233 at the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for later domestic broadcast, and released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 20.

William J. Clinton, Radio Remarks on Voluntary National Testing for Basic Education Skills Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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