Testing Bush's Educational Performance

When he released his brand spanking new federal budget this month, George W solemnly declared that it "sets clear priorities," including "making sure our children get educated."

Since Bush is Mr. No-Child-Left-Behind, we should expect a big boost in education funding. But sleight-of-hand has become George's chief presidential legacy, and if you actually look at the budget numbers, you'll see a paucity of support behind his rich rhetoric.

His centerpiece educational effort, the Leave No Child Behind Act, requires every local school to meet Bush's educational testing standards, and it's already under severe attack because it mandates new state reforms without funding them. Indeed, since it was enacted with great White House fanfare, Bush has quietly shortchanged the program by $17 billion -- and his new budget falls another $9 billion short of the funding he agreed was necessary when he got Congress to pass it.

Another educational problem is the rapid deterioration of America's school buildings. A third of our schools need major repair or replacement, and $268 billion is needed just in repairs to bring existing schools up to basic standards. Bush's budget authorizes a pathetic $54 million -- two-one thousandths of a percent of the need.

Then there's Head Start, a program that is enormously successful, yet it receives only enough money to cover half of the pre-kindergarten children needing it. Bush's budget leaves these children behind, providing such meager funding that Head Start won't even keep up with inflation, effectively cutting its existing budget. Full funding of Head Start, by the way, would require less than half of the money that Bush's tax giveaways will bestow on millionaires.

Vocational Ed, Dropout Prevention, and Students with Disabilities are among dozens of other educational programs cut or grossly underfunded by Bush. To get information, call the Institute for America's Future: 202-955-5665.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.