Kati Haycock, director of The Education Trust, on fully funding No Child Left Behind: Do what’s right for students

Publication date: Jul 9, 2003

(Washington, DC) –- “”When the President signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law in 2002, there was strong bipartisan support. It was clear that the time had come to combine stronger accountability for schools and districts with additional support for the schools and districts that needed it most.

““When the law was passed, the President and Republican leadership promised to support the tougher accountability and the mission of educating all of our nation’’s students –- including low-income and minority students -– with specific financial resources focused on improving achievement. Since then, the rhetoric around accountability from the Administration has been tough and unwavering, something we applaud. Unfortunately, however, they’’ve been all hat and no cattle when it comes to making good on the financial resources.

“”We know from extensive experience in classrooms and districts across the country that funding alone won’t fix schools. But money focused on what research says matters most to increase student achievement DOES make a difference. It takes money to increase teacher quality, to develop strong professional development programs and to provide extra time and support for students who need it.

“”Just one month ago, the President stood in the Rose Garden and congratulated all 50 states on meeting the deadline for adopting accountability plans that meet the requirements of the law, saying that, ‘together, we are keeping a pledge: Every child in America will learn, and no child will be left behind.’ The states have stepped up to the plate, but the President and Republican leadership in Congress have walked away from their part of the pledge.

“”Sadly, the appropriations bill up for a vote on the House floor this week falls shamefully short of the commitments made two years ago by a smiling President and Republican leadership. In terms of funding NCLB, the bill falls short in MANY ways, including:

  • Under-funding Title I by $6.15 billion from what was promised in 2002.
  • Falling $244 million short of the $3.2 billion promised to states for improving teacher quality in 2002.
  • And even falling $334 million short of the additional $1 billion promised for Title I just a few months ago in the budget resolution.

“”I want to be very clear though. There are those who say that accountability and reform have to wait until this law is fully funded. We categorically reject that notion. Schools and districts committed to educating all of their students are already seeing marked improvements as they do the hard work of raising the quality of teaching and instruction.

“”Our children will be the real losers in all of this if we take what is a moral issue and turn it into a political one. We believe wholeheartedly in the potential of the education system to rise to the challenge of educating all of our students to high levels. We see it happening everyday in schools and districts across the country. To turn our backs on our children now would be cruelty.

“”The states have stepped up to the plate and have shown a good-faith effort to meet both the spirit and letter of the new law. It’’s time for the President and the Republicans in Congress to do the same.””

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