Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.
September 29, 2004
Good morning. Great to be back talking about one of my favorite things -- education. It is a subject that always gets much attention. So let's get to it.
Kat, from Birmingham, Alabama writes:
Hey, Kat. I have a seventh grader myself so I think I know what you are going through. Let me first clarify your question. The President's Cabinet has many members # -- one of the positions is dedicated to Education and is known as the Secretary of education. The Secretary of Education is Rod Paige who was the supt of schools in Houston ISD before joining the Bush admin. His job is to oversee the approx 5000 of employees at the Dept of Education who are charged with overseeing and implementing federal education policy and federal funds to education. These include funding for higher education which among other things provides support for grants and loans to college and university students as well as overseeing various programs that support K-12 education such as grants to states for teacher training, poor schools working to provide opportunity for minority students, technology, reading and math and many others. Secretary Paige is the President's "go to guy" on implementing the landmark No Child Left Behind Act which calls on states to work to ensure academic proficiency for all students.
Mrs. Wright, from Oklahoma writes:
Lori, from Baltimore writes:
Although I will be eligible for early retirement in June, I may have to go back to school. By the way, who is supposed to pay for this????
(P.S. This is one Catholic who finds miss leading the public and the immoral war far greater wrongs than a woman's right to choose.)
No Child Left behind requires that by the 2005-2006 school year all teachers be highly qualified. The federal law says that teachers must have subject area expertise and be certified by the state.
Beyond that, the state determines how a teacher demonstrates the subject area expertise --- such as attending a class or taking a test and establishes the requirements for certification so I think your issue may really lie with the state certification board in Maryland. In addition the federal government provides about 3 billion dollars to states a 39% increase over 2001
Marie, from Brooklyn writes:
What's up with that? I need an answeron ASAP
For starters, we must make sure that more African American students get out of high school ready to enter and be successful in higher education. Funding for federal student aid for higher education is up by 51% since 2001.
The Pell Grant which is the primary financial aid program for low and middle income students, is up from $3750 to $4050 per year and about 5.3 million students receive them -- thats a million more students than in 2001. The Dept. of Ed has a website that may be useful to you on finding financial aid opportunities it is www.Studentaid.ed.gov.
Laurel, from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
The law provides that parents can either choose a higher performing public school or get funds for tutoring or summer school to help their child. It is important in any accountability system that consequences occur if schools dont change and improve and that is what No Child Left Behind calls for.
In addition, the President has called on Congress to set aside 50 million dollars for a Choice Incentive Fund that states can access to help provide seed money for states and localities who want to implement choice programs.
Finally, the President supported, along with DC Mayor Tony Williams, a major choice initiative in the District of Columbia for the first time. It is being implemented for the first time this school year and provides 14 million dollars in scholarships to students private school.
Matt, from UT writes:
Robyn, from North Carolina writes:
It appears that the ABC bonus system you wrote about is a state program in North Carolina, and therefore the federal government has no oversight over that issue. While the No Child Left Behind Act requires states to have accountability systems in place, it does not proscribe how states reward effective schools.
tina, from ohio writes:
Vocational rehabilitation is a State and Federal partnership program with a mission to assist and empower eligible individuals with disabilities to achieve and maintain meaningful employment.
If you are eligible, a vocational rehabilitation counselor will work individually with you to provide support and assistance as you work toward reaching your job goal. College or university-based education may be a part of your plan to become employed and vocational rehabilitation is a source to help you achieve your goals.
Also, I encourage you to contact the office at your college or university providing services to students with disabilities. This office - typically in the student services office -- will be a rich resource of support and the staff may be able to provide suggestions unique to you and your school that will help you manage your coursework each semester.
They will likely be able to help coordinate with the state vocational rehabilitation program.
To find the nearest vocational rehabilitation office, Tina may contact the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission at 400 E. Campus View Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43235-4604, 614-438-1214 (TTY/V).
Tony, from Newark writes:
The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to be accountable for the education of all students, including economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities, and provides the resources to ensure results.
President Bush has increased Title I funding for disadvantaged students from $8.8 billion in 2001 to $13.3 billion in his 2005 budget, an increase of 52%.
This money goes to schools with large numbers of low-income students, and schools can use this funding to provide teacher training or tutoring, hire reading specialists, purchase new curricula, or for any other purpose to increase academic achievement.
President Bush has also increased funding for special education state grants from $6.3 billion in 2001 to $11.1 billion in 2005, a 75% increase.
Michael, from Air War College writes:
Randy, from Pennsylvania writes:
Apparently the ones making this legislation have never taught, or have never taken the tests they are requiring students to. The idea that we have to prepare special education students to be able to achieve at a four year college level is unrealistic. Some children, no matter how hard you try, want to be left behind. There is no way any school will ever meet 100 achievement, I'll bet my house on it. Every school will eventually fail, under the stipulations of NCLB, and children will be left behind. I am all for accountability, and all the teachers I work with feel the same, however I think this is more about making education a private entity. I wish Dubya well in the election, and I realize it is more about many issues instead of one; however this is one that is real important to the education community.
Please update us on any possible changes to NCLB.
The President has great faith in our schools and educators that these goals can be met and they are proving it everyday. In every state we are seeing improvement in closing the achievement gap and in reducing the number of schools needing improving -- every state is making progress under NCLB.
No Child Left Behind, while it does hold states accountable for the education of special education students, provides ways to meet this goal in a reasonable way.
As you know, the assessment of special ed students is governed largely by ARD committees. NCLB recognizes that different assessment systems will need to be developed for students who are not working at grade level and are classified as special ed.
Further, the law allows states to get credit for making continuous progress with these students under the safe harbor provision in the law.
Finally, states proscribe the standards and assessments that are used to measure regular and special ed students. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify these points.
Cathy, from Oklahoma writes:
The President is concerned that half of American adults do not exercise at all and that obesity rates are on the rise in adults and children. He strongly believes that increasing personal fitness and becoming healthier is critical to achieving a better and longer life. That is why he created the HealthierUS Initiative to use the resources of the Federal government to educate Americans about the benefits from simple and modest improvements in their physical activity, nutrition, and behavior. You don't have to join a gym or become a marathon runner. We all can make small changes in our daily lives to reduce the risk and severity of many chronic diseases.
The President's budget includes $125 million for the Step to a HealthierUS program which helps local communities promote behaviors that reduce obesity, diabetes, and asthma. Also, the USDA is expanding a program to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunch programs.
For your students, remind them that they don't have to choose "diet" foods, just healthy foods. Instead of chips for a snack, a piece of fruit is healthier and cheaper. Why not a simple vegetable soup prepared at home instead of fast food or prepared meals? When pursuing a healthy lifestyle, make sure you take advantage of all the choices available to you!
Lori, from Shawnee, Oklahoma writes:
You are so right. It is frustrating when I hear how much misinformation is out there on No Child Left Behind. No Child Left Behind simply is about results for kids. And requires that children from grades 3 - 8 be tested in reading and math and that this information be reported to parents, educators and the community so that children can get help.
Of course, for special ed students the standards and assessments will be different and states are developing proper measurement systems for those students.
Lori, thanks to you for being a teacher.