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[Susan notes: Good for Durbin for taking on the Times editorial. Bad for Durbin for still insisting that NCLB's problem is a funding problem.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Your March 2 editorial defending the No Child Left Behind Act, which, you acknowlege, is inadequately funded, was a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.

This year alone, the Bush administration shortchanges American schools $9.4 billion under No Child Left Behind. Expecting deficit-ridden states or battered property taxpayers to cover this shortfall is not realistic.

My amendment wouldn't exempt states "from complying at all" with the new law, as you assert. My amendment continues testing and measurement provisions, so there will be no escape from the reality of public education successes and failures. But it gives states the option of deferring mandated corrective actions if the program isn't funded as promised.

I voted for No Child Left Behind to bring failing schools and students with low test scores to a level of success. I haven't abandoned those goals. President Bush has abandoned American students and families by refusing to fund it.

Richard J. Durbin, U. S. Senator, Illinois

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