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NCLB Outrages

Kerry Education Plan Will Strengthen Our Schools and Extend Opportunity--Or So He Says

Ohanian Comment: Further evidence that Kerry doesn't get it--or that he gets it and doesn't give a damn.

To: National Desk and Political, Education Reporters

Contact: Allison Dobson of Kerry-Edwards, 202-464-2800, Web: http://www.johnkerry.com

WASHINGTON, July 16 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Addressing the 2004 American Federation of Teachers National Convention, Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry Friday highlighted his plan to build a stronger America by strengthening our commitment to education and giving every child the opportunity to succeed. Kerry's plan will put new resources into our schools and take the next steps to finish the job of education reform, so that more students receive the education they need to get good jobs and get ahead in life.

"We can make America stronger by making a new commitment to our schools and our children," Kerry said. "They don't need a politician's praise. They need a President who values a good education as the gateway to a good job, a better life and the best America. And if you send me to the White House, that's exactly the kind of President we'll have."

George Bush promised to "leave no child behind" and to end the "soft bigotry of low expectations." Yet, he has failed to give our schools the resources they need (underfunding his own plan by $27 billion) and implemented No Child Left Behind (NCLB) with a top- down, Washington-knows-best attitude that hurts students.

Today, almost one-third of our high school students do not graduate high school, and more and more students are priced out and not attending college -- despite the fact that a college degree is more important than ever.

In the classroom, teachers all too often do not get paid or treated like professionals, and do not get rewards for success.

Kerry today pledged to strengthen education in America with a plan that makes reform work by fully funding NCLB, creating a new bargain with America's teachers and beginning a national campaign to raise high school graduation rates.

"We value education as the path to opportunity in America, and we value the teachers who dedicate their lives to giving our young people the best possible start in life," Kerry said. "That means understanding that we can't create good schools on the cheap. And it means ensuring that there's a good teacher at the front of every classroom in America."

Kerry will fully fund NCLB and offer a new bargain for America's children and teachers. His plan will recruit teachers for high-need schools and for shortage subject areas like math and science. It will also offer teachers professional support, like mentoring programs and parental involvement initiatives. In return, Kerry will ask school districts to implement new tests for teachers, establish new systems that reward teachers for excellence in the classroom and ensure fast, fair procedures for improving or replacing teachers who do not perform.

To remove one of the biggest obstacles to higher pay for teachers, Kerry will take on rising health care costs. He will bring down costs by eliminating waste and greed from the health care system, so that money that should be going to teachers is not going into skyrocketing health care plans.

Kerry will also help 1 million more students graduate in the next five years by enforcing the accountability provisions in NCLB for dropouts; investing in anti-dropout efforts like offering mentoring in middle school, shrinking big high schools that are not working and strengthening the high school curriculum.

Once they graduate, Kerry will take new steps to help more students go to and pay for college.

"No broken promises on funding, and no more empty rhetoric on reform," Kerry said. "As President I will meet our responsibilities. We're going to get this done right because we know that empty rhetoric and empty promises lead to empty dreams- and we won't let that happen in our America."

-- Kerry - Edwards Plan to Strengthen America's Schools --

John Kerry and John Edwards believe that reform without resources is a waste of money, and resources without reform is a waste of time. This president committed to resources and reforms in No Child Left Behind, but he has fallen $27 billion short and implemented the law with a top-down, Washington-knows-best attitude that hurts students. John Kerry and John Edwards will put new resources into our schools and make reform work by fully funding No Child Left Behind, creating a new bargain with America's teachers, and beginning a national campaign to raise high school graduation rates.

Create A Real Plan to Leave No Child Behind. Kerry-Edwards will fully fund No Child Left Behind and get on a path toward full funding for the education program for students with disabilities with a new National Education Trust Fund. They will also make sure that the rules under NCLB make sense and achieve the Act's purposes.

Offer a New Bargain for America's Children and Teachers. John Kerry and John Edwards know that good teachers are vital to building a stronger America. As previously announced, their $30 billion "New Bargain for America's Children and Teachers" will recruit or retain 500,000 teachers over the next 4 years. The Kerry-Edwards plan will:

-- Offer More: Recruiting teachers for high-need schools and for shortage subject areas like math and science by offering pay hikes of at least $5,000; supporting mentoring that pairs veteran teachers with new teachers and establishing career ladders that increase responsibility for successful teachers; and using technology to connect parents and teachers and support parental involvement initiatives like parent-teacher coordinators.

-- Ask for More: As conditions of funding, requiring states or school districts (1) to implement new tests for new teachers with high standards; (2) to develop or maintain fast, fair procedures for improving or replacing teachers who do not perform; and (3) to offer increased pay and responsibility to teachers who excel, using measures that include student achievement.

Help 1 Million More Students Graduate in Next Five Years. Today, almost one-third of high school students do not even graduate. Despite this crisis, the Bush administration has failed to enforce key graduation provisions in No Child Left Behind and has done little to obtain accurate data about dropout rates. Kerry and Edwards have a plan to help 1 million more students graduate in the next five years by enforcing the accountability provisions in No Child Left Behind for dropouts, investing in anti-dropout efforts like offering mentoring in middle school, shrinking big high schools that aren't working, and strengthening the high school curriculum.

Improve the Quality of Testing. Good testing is a critical measure of progress, but bad tests-pure fill-in-the-bubble exercises-emphasize rote memorization, undercut true learning, and dominate classrooms. President Bush is not adequately funding the development of sound tests. John Kerry and John Edwards will do so-funding tests that measure the full range of skills we want students to learn.

Offer More Help for Schools that Don't Succeed. Without adequate funding, schools needing improvement have not had a real opportunity to do better, and proven methods of success-like expert assistance teams that go into schools that aren't working- have not received the funding they deserve. John Kerry and John Edwards will create a new fund to help states turn schools around and reward schools when they improve.

— Kerry-Edwards Campaign

2004-07-16
http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=104-07162004


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