Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Presses States to Hold Teachers, Schools Accountable

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Presses States to Hold Teachers, Schools Accountable

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton called on states Wednesday to reward good teachers, fire incompetent ones and hold schools accountable for results.

Addressing a national education summit with more than 40 of the nation's governors and 49 business leaders, the president also said students should have to pass tests to graduate from elementary, middle and high schools. A number of states already have such requirements.

"Too many people in the United States think that the primary determinant of success and learning is either IQ or family circumstances instead of effort. I don't," he said. "Most children are very eager to learn. Those that aren't probably have been convinced they can't.

"I believe if you want the standards movement to work, you have to have an assessment system that says, `No more social promotions. No more free passes,' " Clinton said.

"This is one area where we need a revolution of rising expectations," he added. "Once you have high standards and high expectations, there are unlimited things that can be done."

After late-night partisan bickering, the governors issued a six-page policy statement Wednesday aimed at rekindling the academic standards movement in the states - a grass-roots campaign, not one coming from Washington.

"The choice is clear," said Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, a Republican. "By setting standards for our schools, our students will graduate with the skills they need to succeed. They will know how to write, how to read and how to compute, as well as how to comprehend. They will be able to command good jobs, good wages."

Thompson is chairman of the National Governors Association, which led the summit with IBM Corp. Chairman Louis Gerstner.

At the summit, the business leaders agreed to look at the high school tr anscripts of prospective hires, push parents to get involved in schools and play an active role in getting technology in the classroom.

They also agreed to make a state's academic standards and student performance a high priority in deciding where to build or expand operations.

Efforts to reach a consensus nearly collapsed early Wednesday. …

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