No Child Left Behind Op-Ed

A new op-ed by Congresswoman Slaughter appears today in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle with her thoughts on the current state of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Promise of funding is broken

By Rep. Louise Slaughter
Guest essayist

(July 29, 2007) — Six years after the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, the president is once again calling upon Congress to reauthorize his flagship domestic legislation.

“We made a historic commitment,” he recently declared, “and I believe we have a moral obligation to keep it.”

Yet, the president’s track record on education is a history of broken promises and failed obligations. No Child Left Behind’s sweeping reforms remain underfunded and ineffective, and it is our nation’s children who continue to bear the burden.

When NCLB came before Congress in 2001, I proudly supported its high goals, tough standards and accountability for schools, students and teachers.

I saw this bill as part of a call for our nation to work together and improve our education system.

Unfortunately, six years of failed policies and unfunded mandates have left our schools struggling to provide students with the resources they deserve to meet the educational standards demanded. In our own City School District, only about half of high school students graduate within four years. This is unacceptable, and our children deserve better.

I believed then, as I do now, that while some elements in NCLB must be examined and refined — such as the testing regimens imposed on schools nationwide — the program is still very worthy of our support.

Despite calls by fellow members of Congress and me for full funding of NCLB, President George Bush’s administration has shortchanged the program by more than $53 billion.

The president’s FY2007 budget request cuts $2.1 billion from overall education — the largest cut in the 26-year history of the Department of Education.

What could be a bold investment in the future of our country has thus far been status quo, at best.

In the face of such a reality, I have continued to fight to ensure that the promise of No Child Left Behind is not forgotten.

In 2003, I co-sponsored the Leave No Child Behind Act, which included funding for many of NCLB’s programs, and in 2005, I co-sponsored the Keep Our Promise to America’s Teachers and Children Act, which again called for full NCLB funding.

It is not too late to fulfill the pact that we made in 2001. With the reauthorization of NCLB this year, we must be thoroughly committed to supporting our schools, our teachers and most importantly our country’s future resource — our children.

Our sons and daughters deserve nothing less.

Slaughter, D-Fairport, represents the 28th District in the U.S. House of Representatives and chairs the House Rules Committee.

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