In the days following the release of President Bush’s fiscal year 2003 budget, top Democrats in the House and Senate lambasted the President for an education budget that was inadequate to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the Ranking Member on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, jointly released The Bush Budget: Shortchanging School Reform to draw attention to what they perceived as the many shortfalls in President Bush’s budget for education.
In the release, Sen. Kennedy and Congressman Miller noted that the President’s 2.8 percent increase for education represented the smallest increase in seven years. “Just one month after signing the most significant education law in 30 years, the President’s budget takes a large step backward. Accountability will work only when matched with adequate resources. Our schools, teachers and students were promised these resources when the law was written,” the report charges.
Many state education departments are already feeling the pinch from decreased funding because of the recession and shrinking state budgets. Without a greater federal commitment to funding the No Child Left Behind Act, states will most likely experience difficulty implementing the reforms the act requires.
Prior to the release of his budget, the President went out of his way to note the $1 billion increases for Title I and IDEA. Under the President’s budget, 400,000 more poor children would be served by Title I. However, the number of poor children in the United States is expected to grow by 650,000, leaving 250,000 children behind.