Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Reacts to President’s Proposed FY 2007 Budget
Only a year ago, President Bush said that the nation needed to improve older students’ ability to read at grade level, and to make all secondary schools places where success and excellence is possible. Sadly, the budget proposed today by the President for FY 2007 seems to indicate that high school improvement is no longer a priority for this Administration.
“Given the importance that the President placed on keeping America competitive and raising the math and science performance of our students, I’m frustrated to see education proposals that the Senate rejected 99-0 last year,” noted Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise. “The Administration’s budget is to education what the Super Bowl is to football, and the President gave his team the same playbook that lost last year.”
The President’s leadership last year motivated other policymakers to embrace effective high school reform efforts, as governors, mayors, and others launched major initiatives to improve secondary schools in their jurisdictions. But Presidential support appears to have now faltered.
By introducing a slightly revised set of initiatives that he proposes to pay for with the same program cuts that were disregarded by Congress last year, President Bush is offering false hope to millions of American students. Although the budget requests increased funding for urgently needed initiatives – including better data systems to track the progress of students and hold their schools more accurately accountable, and more funding for rigorous Advanced Placement classes – the President has reduced his call for support for literacy intervention by half from last year’s request level. Yet literacy levels among adolescent learners remain unacceptably low: according to the “Nation’s Report Card” (the National Assessment of Educational Progress), 71 percent of America’s eighth-graders read below grade level.
The Alliance for Excellent Education urges the President to renew his commitment to preparing all American students for the increasing competitive society of the 21st Century by recommending and aggressively advocating for realistic solutions to the crisis that currently exists in high school education. They, and our nation, deserve his full support.
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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education, and success in life. It is funded by the Leeds Family, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Daniels Fund, as well as by other concerned foundations and individuals.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.com