This statement on Senator (VT) Jim Jeffords' website needs a wide audience:
One of the most disturbing effects of the economic downturn is the lack of state and federal funding for our educational system - where States are laying off teachers, cutting school days and eliminating early childhood programs - most of which have only just started. The President's advisors tell him to endlessly repeat "No Child Left Behind."
But in the 17 months since that policy became law, we've seen something very different. Too many children are being left behind. President Bush says the new law will lead to stronger schools. I say it is all part of a quiet plan to starve our public schools so this country can move to vouchers and private school choice...
A recent New York Times report noted that combined budget deficits for 50 states are estimated to be between $52 billion and $82 billion, and the schools are taking the worst hit. In Oregon, 84 school districts closed their schools ahead of schedule - some by as much as a month -- because the money ran out. This comes at a time when schools are faced with mounting pressure to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind or face penalties...Posted by James at July 23, 2003 4:53 PM
In my home state of Vermont, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution last week expressing its concerns over the policies and mandates of No Child Left Behind. They noted that the law could cost Vermont up to three times more to implement than the federal government provides - and maybe more - "thereby placing a major burden on the state's strained financial resources…"
If this wasn't all bad enough, we learned last week that the U.S. Department of Education plans to spend a half-million dollars - yes, a half-million dollars! - on a public relations campaign aimed at quieting the critics of No Child Left Behind. During three decades in Congress, I have never heard of such an ad campaign. Yet as schools are cutting early education programs for lack of money, the President has no problem with assembling an eight-person "communications" team to try and make a bad plan look good.
Saying one thing, doing another...