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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 29, 2002

Fact Sheet: President Promotes Stronger Curriculum in Back-To-School Season

Today's Presidential Action

President Bush visited Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School in Little Rock, Arkansas to highlight the important new changes that are taking place in schools across America as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act, which he signed into law this year.

President Bush also announced a new State Scholars Initiative, modeled on the successful Texas Scholars program, to encourage high school students to take more rigorous high school courses. At the President's recent economic forum in Waco, a panel of education and workforce leaders highlighted the need for a stronger high school curriculum to help students enjoy success in college and the workforce. Too often, the minimum high school graduation requirements fail to adequately prepare students for success in college or the workforce. Due to inadequate preparation in high school, almost half of all college students need to take remedial courses, and fewer students from disadvantaged backgrounds qualify for admission to college. Under the State Scholars Initiative, 5 states (including Arkansas) will receive assistance in developing and promoting strong courses of study, as well as providing special incentives for students enrolled in these programs.

Background on Today's Presidential Action

President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law on January 8, 2002. As the cornerstone of the President's education reform agenda, the No Child Left Behind Act requires states and school districts to develop strong accountability systems to ensure that every child in America is receiving a quality education. States and school districts will receive additional flexibility and reduced federal red tape through the ability to transfer and consolidate funds to encourage innovation. To achieve the goal of higher student performance, the new law requires a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom. Parents will have access to more information about how well their local school is performing, and new options to have more control over their child's education. And, every school in America will have new tools to ensure that children can learn to read.

A number of key provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act are being implemented during the new school year, including: