[Susan notes: Whenever Rod Paige writes a letter, no matter how disingenuous, it gets published. Steve Krashen chides the Post for giving him the space.]
Published in Washington Post
No Education Funding Left Behind
Friday, October 24, 2003; Page A24
The Oct. 13 front-page story "Education Law May Hurt Bush" included plenty of partisan-inspired complaints but little focus on the unprecedented dollars flowing to the states to support the No Child Left Behind Act.
Under No Child Left Behind, spending for kindergarten through 12th grade already has risen by nearly 40 percent. President Bush's fiscal 2004 budget calls for total federal education funding of $53.1 billion, representing an increase of $11 billion since he took office. As a result, states will receive more than enough federal resources to implement the No Child Left Behind Act.
One complaint heard from state administrators, including West Virginia Gov. Robert E. Wise Jr. (D) in The Post's article, is that testing achievement in reading and math is prohibitively expensive. However, the General Accounting Office has concluded that states have received adequate federal funding to implement the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Unfortunately, many administrators are using No Child Left Behind as leverage for even more funding. Rather than eliminate inefficiency or make needed changes, they hope their complaints will generate even more money from Congress. But the funding we have given is calibrated to generate the necessary reforms.
Certainly, many states are experiencing difficult fiscal situations. But blaming No Child Left Behind for their predicaments is inaccurate. More important, it is unfair to those children who have the most to gain from its revolutionary reforms.
Thank you to Steve Krashen for pointing this out to The Post.
The Post should not have published Education Sec. Paige's defense of the Bush administration's funding for education (10/24). Sec. Paige is an important public figure. He has instant access to the media by means of press conferences and press releases, and he has the ear of education reporters throughout the country. Letters to the editor are traditionally for those who do not otherwise have a means of
expressing their views to the public.