Introducing the Literacy Pod

Education Secretary: $2.75 Billion On Education

(From Reuters News Service)

WASHINGTON — President Clinton said on Saturday that he would send legislation on Monday to Congress that would begin financing his proposed five-year, $2.75 billion program to help mobilize an army of volunteers to teach children to read.

Clinton made the announcement in a weekly radio address devoted to encouraging citizens to make volunteer service a part of their lives, a day before he attends a national service summit in Philadelphia. With him at the summit will be former Presidents George Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford and retired Gen. Colin Powell, along with thousands of volunteer advocates from across the country.

"Citizen service is neighbor helping neighbor," Clinton said. "It's part-time volunteers and full-time community service workers. It's communities coming together to solve common problems. And it is an essential part of what it means to be an American."

Clinton said he would send to Congress on Monday the American Reads Challenge Act, which would finance 25,000 reading specialists and tutor coordinators, including 11,000 members of his national service program, AmeriCorps. The aim is to mobilize one million volunteer reading tutors to provide reading help before and after school to 3 million children at 20,000 schools.

Clinton said he wanted to make sure that every 8-year-old in America can pick up a book and say, "I read this all by myself."