Clinton Offers Encouragement To International Educators
President Clinton speaks to the NEA
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 29) -- President Bill Clinton stressed the need for worldwide education to further democracy and move toward a world economy in a talk Wednesday to an international group of educators.
"Where once we focused our development efforts on the construction of factories and power plants, today we must invest more in the power of the human mind and the potential of every single one of our children," Clinton said in a speech before the Second World Congress of Education International. The congress was concluded Wednesday in Washington, D.C. by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
"You can learn a lot about a country's future by visiting its public schools," Clinton said.
Clinton said education is essential to combatting racial and ethnic hatred, and creating a worldwide middle class. He called the 21st century "the century of education, and the century of the teacher."
The president praised teachers' efforts worldwide, commending global increases in literacy rates but saying that nations still face educational challenges with one-third of the world's adult population still illiterate. In particular, he called for making educational opportunities available to girls around the globe.
He also called for international cooperation in educational efforts, and encouraged the assembled educators to continue to fight for education.
"You must not stop until every political leader with any political interest in any political party in any nation knows this is something that has to be lifted above political partisanship," Clinton said. "This is something that ought to be beyond all debate."
Clinton also took the opportunity dip into national politics, calling on Congress to support national testing and fund the educational initiatives currently under debate.
He also applauded efforts in the United States to reduce class size, hire high-quality teachers, reduce school violence, connect all schools to the Internet by the year 2000, and to make low-cost higher education available to all Americans.