Currently, almost all of the available federal resources for at-risk students are concentrated in the early years–only 5 percent of Title I funds go to high schools. Federal funds for reducing class size have been targeted to the first three grades. The President’s new Reading First initiative also only covers grades K-3. Without a greater commitment to provide full funding for Title I that will allow school districts to reach at-risk students at all grade levels, the President’s budget will continue to leave some children behind.
Several factors make the President’s budget for the Department of Education both disappointing and reason for concern. Enrollment increases across the country and shrinking state budgets are making it more difficult for state governments to fully serve their schoolchildren. These problems only magnify the difficulty that most states will encounter when trying to implement the federal mandate in No Child Left Behind for greater accountability and results.
In the several weeks following the January enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, the President and Members of Congress promoted the bill as the best way to attack problems in our nation’s schools. Without sufficient funding, school districts will continue to be forced to choose between older and younger students. Regardless of the choice ultimately made, it is doubtful that any school district will be able to meet the revolutionary changes that the supporters of the No Child Left Behind Act championed if the resources are not there.
|President Bush Calls Education the Next Great Civil Rights Issue:
“Americans can proudly say that we have overcome the institutional bigotry that Dr. King fought. Now our challenge is to make sure that every child has a fair chance to succeed in life. That is why education is the great civil rights issue of our time.”
– President Bush, January 19, 2002
Categories:No Child Left Behind