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NCLB Outrages

Nearly Every School District in America Left Behind by President's Education Budget

Note The Bush Education department hijacked the Children's Defense Fund's slogan No child left behind.

Press Releases

April 30, 2004
John Norton (202) 662-3609 Current Press Releases
Press Release Archive


CDF Analysis Shows District-by-District Shortfalls

Washington, D.C. - The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) became law in 2001 with great fanfare and on a bipartisan basis. It set challenging new goals for America's public schools with a renewed focus on closing the achievement gap between affluent students and those from poor and minority communities by setting high standards and holding schools accountable to meet them. President Bush made a simple promise to the 47 million American children in our public schools to provide schools the necessary resources and funding to meet the tough new standards mandated in the law. That promise has been broken.

The Bush Administration, and its allies in Congress, have consistently shortchanged NCLB by billions of dollars. For the upcoming 2004–2005 school year, this underfunding already will result in 7,000 school districts and 11 states actually losing significant funding for Title I—the very program intended to raise the achievement of the nation's most disadvantaged students. The President's proposed budget for the 2005–2006 school year calls for $9.4 billion less than he and Congress agreed would be necessary to fund NCLB, including $7.1 billion less than the $20.5 billion promised for Title I. This shortfall will affect nearly every school district in America.

The Children's Defense Fund compared the amount each district would receive under the President's proposed Fiscal Year 2005 budget to the amount they were promised under NCLB. The data show how nearly every school district in the country continues to be shortchanged.

Some of the largest school districts in the country will be subjected to significant shortfalls in the 2005–2006 school year: Los Angeles, for example, will suffer a $294 million shortfall from what it was promised under NCLB. In New York, the funding gap will be $649 million; in Houston, $78 million; in Seattle, $8 million; and, in Detroit, $119 million.

The President's proposed budget for St. Louis, Missouri, would underfund the children of the city by $23 million. Dayton, Ohio's shortfall will total $9 million. Minneapolis will be underfunded by $15 million. Its twin city, St. Paul, will suffer a shortfall of $13 million from promised funds under the federal program.

The Bush Administration's chronic underfunding of NCLB threatens the education of millions of American children and undermines our public school system. By denying schools the promised funding they need to hire and retain high quality teachers, expand access to after-school programs and improve their curricula, the Administration deprives students of the tools they need for advanced academic achievement and a successful transition to adulthood.

CDF urges the Administration to re-evaluate its priorities and put our nation's children first by keeping its promise to fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act.

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Data for every school district in the country:


The mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind® and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investment before they get sick, into trouble, drop out of school, or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations. We have never taken government funds.

— Press Release
Children's Defense Fund


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