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Improving American Education

"[T]oday begins a new era, a new time in public education in our country. As of this hour, America’s schools will be on a new path of reform, and a new path of results. Our schools will have higher expectations. We believe every child can learn. Our schools will have greater resources to help meet those goals. Parents will have more information about the schools, and more say in how their children are educated. From this day forward, all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel, and to live out their dreams."

– President George W. Bush, January 8, 2002

The Accomplishments

Requiring Accountability

  • President Bush, working closely with Republicans and Democrats, achieved significant and historic education reform with the No Child Left Behind Act, which promotes student achievement, accountability, and greater choices for parents.
  • For the first time, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have accountability plans for measuring progress in educating America’s children.
  • For the first time, children in grades 3-8 will be tested every year on basic reading and math skills to measure their progress.
  • Annual test results are now published so parents can measure school performance and statewide progress, and evaluate the quality of their child’s school, the qualifications of teachers, and student progress in key subjects.
  • Statewide reports reveal progress for all student groups.
  • According to a March 2004 study by the Council of Great City Schools, the achievement gap in both math and reading between African Americans and whites, and Hispanics and whites, is narrowing.
Ensuring Schools Have Funding and Flexibility to Improve
  • Federal spending on education has increased by $15 billion (including the FY 2005 request) – an increase of almost 40 percent since 2001.
  • Title I funding to America’s most needy public schools increased by $4.6 billion since 2001.
  • President Bush has requested a 75 percent increase in funding for special education since 2001.
  • With funding of the President's;2005 Budget, his Administration will have provided more than $1.1 billion for Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs school construction and repairs during the last four years.

Giving Parents Options

  • No Child Left Behind expands options for parents with children in chronically under-performing schools. President Bush believes that no child should be forced to stay in a bad school. Parents now can choose to send their children to a better-performing public or charter school.
  • For the first time, Federal Title I funds are required to be used to provide supplemental educational services – including tutoring, after school services, and summer school programs – for children in under-performing schools.
  • Parents, educators, and community leaders have far more opportunities than ever before to open charter schools.
  • The Bush Administration worked with Congress to pass the D.C. School Choice program, providing scholarships to low-income students to expand their options for education.

Supporting Teachers

  • Spending on programs designed to improve teacher quality has reached almost $3 billion under the Bush Administration. This allows local school districts to use Federal funds to hire new teachers, increase teacher pay, and improve teacher training and development.
  • President Bush sought special tax help for teachers who spend their own money in the classroom.
  • The President has fought to protect teachers from lawsuits when they take common-sense action to keep order in the classroom and protect students from violence and disruptive children.
  • President Bush proposed increased loan forgiveness – from $5,000 to $17,500 – for math, science, and special education teachers who teach in high-need schools.

Supporting and Improving Head Start

  • Including the President’s 2005 request, funding for Head Start has increased by $750 million.
  • Significant improvements to Head Start have been proposed, including a new focus on preparing children for school. And a National Reporting System has been established to determine which Head Start centers are preparing children for school and which ones are not.
  • Training in early learning has been provided to more than 50,000 Head Start teachers.
  • The Bush Administration has proposed giving states greater opportunity to coordinate Head Start, state Pre-K programs, and child care programs.

Reading First

  • To ensure that every child learns to read by the third grade, the President proposed and signed into law the Reading First program. This program has already provided more than $2.5 billion to train over 73,000 teachers in effective reading instruction.

Higher Education

  • A record level of assistance is being given to college students in the form of Federal loans, grants, and work-study programs.
  • Funding for Pell grants increased 47 percent. As funding rose by $4 billion, the number of Pell recipients has increased by nearly one million.
  • President Bush signed an Executive Order supporting the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help find new ways to strengthen these schools. The President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities is helping these schools benefit from Federal programs, obtain private-sector support for their endowments, and build partnerships to strengthen faculty development and cooperative research. And the President’s 2005 budget will meet his goal of increasing funding for minority-serving institutions by 30 percent.
  • The President established an Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. The Commission provides reports on the progress of Hispanic Americans in closing the academic achievement gap, and attaining the goals established by the No Child Left Behind educational blueprint.

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