WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the second anniversary of the signing of the "No Child Left Behind Act" tomorrow (Jan. 8):
"The bipartisan No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act builds on Clinton-era education reforms of high standards, accountability and an increased federal investment in education. No Child Left Behind continues to offer great promise for ensuring that every American child - regardless of socioeconomic status or race - develops the core academic skills needed to compete in a global economy.
"However, as we mark its second anniversary, it is now abundantly clear that America's parents and school children should give the Bush Administration a failing grade for not living up to its end of the bargain.
"Practically before the ink was dry on this law, the President began to renege on his commitment to properly fund it. Today, the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal 2004 under-funds NCLB by more than $7.5 billion. It provides the smallest dollar increase in four years and the smallest percentage increase in funding for education in eight years.
"These shortages have real-world consequences. More than half of all poor children eligible for additional instruction in key academic subjects will go un-served, and more than 50,000 teachers will not receive the high quality professional development and training that they were promised.
"In addition, the Administration has fallen short on key issues that are critical to the successful implementation of this Act at the local level. The Administration has provided poor leadership and assistance to states and school districts on ‘adequate yearly progress’ rules (the Act's accountability standards), and provided poor guidance in assisting states with Limited English Proficient students. At the same time, the Bush White House has pursued an agenda at odds with public education, including advocating for private school vouchers and allowing discrimination with federal funds and denying basic civil rights for children and teachers.
"It’s time that President Bush and Congressional Republicans recognize that No Child Left Behind was not a one-time photo-op. The hard work began after the showy signing ceremony. Democrats stand ready to fulfill our commitment. Republicans must join us."