"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Start?

Well...in 16 days he's finished...and not a moment too soon. The Bush White House has done its best to destroy Public Education in the US.

On January 8, 2002, at the signing ceremony fo
r No Child Left Behind, GW said,

"And so the new role of the Federal Government is to set high standards, provide resources, hold people accountable, and liberate school districts to meet the standards. ... We're going to spend more on our schools, and we're going to spend it more wisely." [Remarks on Signing the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 1/8/02 here]

Oh...wait...I forgot. His budgets actually cut money from the NCLB act...
  • The Bush Budget Cut $90 Million From "No Child Left Behind" Education Reform Law. According to an analysis of the Bush education budget by the House Education and the Workforce Committee, "Just one month ago, Congress and the President enacted the most important education reform legislation in 30 years. This bipartisan law is based on the principle that, with adequate resources, real reform is possible. But rather than building on this progress, the President's budget cuts initiatives in The No Child Left Behind Act by a net total of $90 million." [House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Democratic staff, The Bush Budget: Shortchanging School Reform, 2/12/02 here]
  • Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who worked closely with Bush crafting the education reform law, criticized Bush's education budget. "This budget is a severe blow to our nation's schools. Just four weeks after the President signed the education bill into law, the Administration's budget cuts funding for it," Kennedy said. [Kennedy Press Release, 2/12/02 here: under "archive" and "press releases"--2/12/02]
  • Bush Education Budget Provided Smallest Funding Increase In Seven Years. President Bush proposed a 2.8 percent increase, roughly $1.4 billion, in education funding, the smallest increase in seven years. [House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Democratic staff, The Bush Budget: Shortchanging School Reform, 2/12/02 (here)
  • The Bush administration and its hit-men did their best to prove that public education was failing. They squashed creativity, demanded impossible results and have continued to lie about the success of NCLB. There has been an obsessive focus on test scores, a scandal surrounding Reading First followed by reports from the Department of Education's own researchers showing that Reading First is an academic failure. There has been an increase in drop out rates as schools push out failing students in order to "increase" their test scores. This was how the Houston Miracle occurred...the system which Bush used as the foundation for his federal education plan.
So, in a couple of weeks the new president takes over and with him, a new Secretary of Education. Unfortunately, President-Elect Obama has chosen someone who is of the same ilk as the current Secretary of Education. A non-educator, Arne Duncan has manipulated test results to "prove" that the Chicago Public School system has successfully increased learning. He does this by cherry-picking statistics...choosing only grade levels which have increased their test scores, comparing test scores on the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests taken in 2005 to scores on the same test taken in later years, after the Illinois Standards Achievement Test had been realigned in 2006! Jan Wright, Assistant Superintendent of Batavia Public Schools said, "Because of the changes in the ISAT in 2006, one cannot make any fair comparison to the data prior to 2006." But that did not stop Duncan when he reported this to the US Congress.

From the Sun Times in 2007, "Numerous changes to the 2006 ISATs -- including extra time and a livelier format -- made some question whether the new tests were truly comparable to the old ones.
Plus, in eighth-grade math, the passing bar was lowered from the 67th to the 38th national percentile, to better conform with other tests. As a result, state passing rates soared by 24 percentage points, to 78 percent meeting state muster. In Chicago, they doubled."

Read the entire list of Duncan's misrepresentations here...at "Schools Matter".

~~~~~


What else has gone wrong since January 20, 2001? Click here for a great web site...it's called Broken Government: An assessment of 128 (and counting) executive branch failures since 2000.

The list for education:
(You can also see information for health care, defense, transportation, the economy...)

No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind!
Dismantle NCLB!
Sign the petition by clicking HERE.
More than 33,000 signatures so far...

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