HOYER QUESTIONS PRESIDENT’S AND REPUBLICAN PARTY’S COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION
WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon in response to President Bush’s speech on education and the No Child Left Behind Act at a Nashville elementary school, which the Republican education appropriations bill for FY2004 under-funded by more
than $8 billion:
“Today I met with Dr. Andre Hornsby, Superintendent of Schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to talk about the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and the importance of committing sufficient funding to help schools achieve the high standards set forth in that legislation.
“My meeting made the President’s comments today at Kirkpatrick Elementary School all the more interesting. The President and Republicans in Congress have consistently denied funding to implement the initiative they proudly tout. It doesn’t set a good example for children to make promises – comprehensive reforms, more after-school and lunch programs, improving teacher qualifications, and accountability for learning – and then refuse to be held accountable for those promises.
“The Republican spending bill for 2004 under-funds the No Child Left Behind Act by more than $8 billion, even though the President and GOP leaders agreed that fully funding the Act was crucial to achieving its goals.
“President Bush and Republicans talk about their commitment to education, but they provided the smallest dollar increase in five years and the smallest percentage increase in eight years in education funding. In fact, the President has been forced to go on the defensive and talk about funding levels for next year because the criticism for this year’s education funding has been so resounding.
“The President and Republicans promised that children at Kirkpatrick Elementary School, along with children all over this nation, would benefit from stronger standards and new programs as a result of No Child Left Behind. Instead, they are struggling to pass standardized tests for which their schools cannot afford to prepare them.
“President Bush and Republicans should be held accountable for denying our children the resources they need to grasp the high bar that we set with No Child Left Behind.”