Bush Announces Education Bill

Posted 5:09 a.m. Jan. 28

By Robert Torte

President George W. Bush recently set aside partisan politics to work with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Ma.) on the newly signed Education Reform Act. The new law is designed to hold public schools accountable for how well their students are doing by requiring annual testing.

Some highlights of the plan include:
Parents may remove students from unsafe or underperforming public schools with federal money
Schools are required to give annual standardized tests
Each school must provide annual “report cards” broken down by gender, income level, and ethnicity

As a leading liberal Democrat, Kennedy played an important role in passing the bill as a bi-partisan effort. Bush met with the senator soon after taking office, making it a top priority of the new administration.

“He’s a fabulous United States senator,” Bush told a packed gymnasium crowd at Hamilton High School in Ohio. “When he’s against you, it’s tough. When he’s with you, it is a great experience.”

In Boston, Bush also thanked Sens. Kennedy and Gregg (R-NH) for comforting First Lady Laura Bush on Sept. 11. When the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon occurred, Laura Bush, a former teacher, was in Kennedy’s office moments away from testifying about early education.

In his first return to partisan politics since Sept. 11, President Bush met with a small number of donors in New Hampshire without the White House press corps. Later that evening, he hosted a fundraiser in Washington for his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican up for reelection.

The new law requires annual math and science testing in grades three through eight to ensure schools meet performance expectations. Schools have been given greater flexibility in how they spend federal aid, while parents have the right request tutoring for their children.

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