[Note: A couple questions have been raised about the number of teachers in the posting yesterday. The following gives the details, and more information is available (i.e., a listing by county) is available at the website referred to at the bottom.]
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES $1.2 BILLION TO BEGIN HIRING 100,000 TEACHERS IN LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS
School districts across the country will receive a total of $1.2 billion in school year 1999-2000 to hire more than 30,000 new teachers in the early grades under the Clinton Administration's new Class Size Reduction Initiative, Vice President Al Gore announced today.
"There is nothing more important to America's future prosperity than giving our children a world-class education," Vice President Gore said. "We must ensure that every child can master the basics and meet high standards to succeed in today's knowledge-based economy, and this initiative will help reach that goal by providing smaller classes and highly qualified teachers."
The Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill signed into law by President Clinton yesterday, will provide funds to help local school districts hire and pay the salaries and benefits of more than 30,000 additional teachers. The FY99 funds are a down payment on the President's plan to hire 100,000 teachers over seven years to reduce average class size in grades 1-3 to 18 pupils per teacher.
"Any parent or teacher will tell you that class size really makes a difference," said U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. "Smaller classes mean more individual attention for students, more orderly classrooms for teachers, and a better learning environment for everyone. I'm pleased that local schools will now get needed resources to help them begin reducing class size and hire well trained teachers, especially in the early grades."
Each state's funding allocation is based on the greater share of funds the state received under the FY 1998 allocations for one of two programs: Title I, based on the population of poor children weighted by the state expenditures for education, or Eisenhower Professional Development, based on Title I shares and overall student enrollment. California will receive the largest amount, $129 million, followed by New York ($104 million), Texas ($97 million), Illinois and Michigan ($50 million).
States will distribute the funds to school districts targeted 80 percent on the basis of child poverty, because high-poverty areas often have limited resources, high teacher turnover, fewer well-trained teachers and in general, a greater need for overall school improvement, and 20 percent based on school enrollment. Funds will be available to states beginning July 1, 1999.
Local school districts can use these funds directly for hiring teachers in grades 1-3 based on their needs. Up to 15 percent of funds can be used to pay for teacher testing and to provide professional development and training opportunities for teachers. Districts that have already reduced class sizes to 18 or fewer students in grades 1 through 3 can use their allocations to make further reductions in those grades, to reduce class size in other grades, or to carry out activities to improve teacher quality.
A 1998 U.S. Department of Education report, Reducing Class Size: What Do We Know? points to research showing that reducing class size is related to increased student learning. Studies have shown that smaller class sizes result in increased student achievement, a reduction in discipline problems and increased instructional time for teachers, and are most important in early grades, and for disadvantaged and minority students. This report can be found on the U.S. Department of Education's web site at www.ed.gov/pubs/ReducingClass.
ESTIMATES OF TEACHERS HIRED THROUGH CLASS SIZE REDUCTION FUNDS
State Class Size Estimated Allocation Teachers To Be Hired
Estimates assume that 10 percent of program funds will support teacher testing and professional development, with the remainder funding class-size reduction. Estimates further assume that 75 percent of teachers hired will be beginning teachers and 25 percent will be reentry teachers. Estimated average cost of teachers hired (including salary and benefits)under these assumptions is $35,000.