[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1997, Book II)]
[October 20, 1997]
[Pages 1400-1401]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

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.

[[Page 1401]]

    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 

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.