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State of the Union 2008

Expanding Opportunity Under No Child Left Behind
President Bush Urges Congress To Strengthen Our Commitment To Helping Every Child Succeed By Reauthorizing NCLB

Tonight, President Bush will call on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  The 2007 Nation's Report Card shows NCLB is helping raise achievement for children, in all different backgrounds, in every part of the country.  Students are achieving record success, with minority students, poor students, and students with disabilities reaching all-time highs in a number of areas.  We must build on this progress by reauthorizing and strengthening the law to increase accountability and flexibility for States and districts, reduce the number of high school dropouts, and provide extra help for struggling schools.

NCLB Is Working For Children Of All Different Backgrounds, In Every Part Of The Country

  • The Nation's Report Card, released this fall, shows improvement in 4th and 8th grade reading and math nationwide. 
    • In reading, scores for 4th graders were the highest on record. 
    • In math, scores for 4th and 8th graders were the highest on record. 
  • African-American and Hispanic students are making significant progress, posting all-time highs in a number of categories. 
    • In 4th grade reading, the achievement gap between white and African-American students is at an all-time low.
    • In math, 4th and 8th grade African-American students achieved their highest scores to date.
    • In 4th grade reading and in 4th and 8th grade math, Hispanic students set new achievement records.  In reading, Hispanic 8th graders matched their all-time high.

We Must Strengthen NCLB To Increase Flexibility And Help Struggling Schools Improve

One year ago, the President released Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act, which proposed common-sense changes to NCLB:

  1. We need to increase flexibility for States and districts to help them turn around struggling schools.  The President has proposed to let States and districts tailor interventions to each school and to measure individual students' achievement growth over time.

  2. We need to increase support for struggling students and underperforming schools.  The President has proposed helping more students take advantage of NCLB's free tutoring by ensuring that districts notify parents when their children are eligible and by requiring school districts to use the full Federal funds set aside for tutoring and school choice.  The President has also proposed increasing resources for School Improvement Grants, which supports implementation of troubled schools' improvement plans.

  3. We need to reward our best teachers and encourage them to take jobs in underperforming schools.  The President has proposed increasing our investment in the Teacher Incentive Fund to reward teachers who successfully raise student achievement in low-income schools.

  4. We need to make sure our children graduate prepared for the jobs of the 21st century. The President has proposed increasing accountability in our high schools, expanding access to Advanced Placement courses, and strengthening math and science education.  His Adjunct Teacher Corps would allow math and science professionals to bring real-life experience to the classroom as part-time teachers.

The Administration will do everything it can to help Members of Congress pass bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act.  In 2001, President Bush worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass NCLB.  The reauthorization of this bipartisan law is one of the President's top priorities and an area in which he believes both parties can work together to build on success, expand opportunity for Americans of all backgrounds, and provide all our children with the quality education they deserve.