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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 14, 2001
President Commends Senate for Passing Education Reform Bill
I commend the Senate for passing an education reform bill that will significantly improve and strengthen our public schools. The reforms in this bill reflect the core principles of my education agenda: accountability, flexibility, local control, and more choices for parents. I congratulate Chairman Kennedy, Ranking Member Gregg, and all those Senators - Democratic, Republican, and Independent - whose hard work helped to produce this bill.
We are close to a monumental achievement with bipartisan support. As a result of our efforts, we have wide agreement on the principles of education reform. I urge Congress to remain true to these principles during the upcoming conference committee.
Many also agree on the need to provide historic levels of funding to help states and local schools to implement these needed reforms. Additional spending on education surely is justified. But the increases must be carefully directed and effectively spent. In the past, increased spending and the creation of multiple new programs have not improved student achievement.
As a nation, we made a promise 36 years ago that disadvantaged children would be well educated in our country. We have not yet fulfilled that promise. Now we must. If we are to do so, we must change our approach. I challenge the House and Senate conferees to keep this imperative for real change in mind as they begin their deliberations. Empowering parents and educators closest to the children, insisting on real accountability for results, streamlining and placing more focus on proven programs, and increasing resources in an intelligent and reasonable manner tied to the reforms all work. Adhering to these approaches can provide us an historic opportunity for our children and our country. Let's seize it.