March 12, 2004, Extra Credit
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March 12, 2004
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 March 11
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No Child Left Behind Is Working

The following excerpts are from an op-ed by Sen. Elizabeth Dole that ran in today's Charlotte Observer:

Accountability is the cornerstone of what makes NCLB so bold and visionary. In the past, the federal government would send checks to fund education and hope something good might happen. Now the government is sending checks—at record levels, contrary to partisan charges—and asking school systems to show what progress they're making and what problems need to be addressed.

Education is a federal priority but must have local control. A person who understands that is Dr. Jim Pughsley, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Seven years ago, 35 percent of African-American fifth graders in his district were reading at grade level. Today, 78 percent are. Seven years ago 59 percent of all fifth graders were reading at grade level. Now 86 percent are. These extraordinary accomplishments are the kind of example all schools in our state can follow.

"It is important to dispel the myth that NCLB is under funded. Nothing could be further from the truth. America's schools are experiencing record levels of federal funding. In fact, Congress has increased education spending by $7.4 billion, or 43 percent, since President Bush has been in office. To date, more education money has been passed than during the previous administration's entire eight-year term! The president's $13.3 billion request for FY 2005 would be an increase of $4.6 billion, or 52 percent, since 2001. The teacher training and recruitment budget increased significantly—by about 40 percent—since 2001. And the flexibility added by NCLB enables states, districts and schools to spend the money more freely than ever, so long as they do what works to improve student learning and achievement."

Because of strong accountability measures, good teachers and adequate funding for NCLB, the results have been quite positive. Math test scores around the nation since 2000 are up 9 points for fourth-graders and 5 points for eighth-graders.

"The United States is the leader of the free world. Why should we settle for lagging behind many nations in education? President Bush has not accepted the status quo. NCLB is the broadest reform of American education since President Lyndon B. Johnson's reforms of the 1960s."

The complete text of this article is available online.


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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 01/25/2008