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More headlines: George W. Bush on Education

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


Soft bigotry of low expectations encourages failure

Q: What is your education plan?

BUSH: I believe accountability encourages parental involvement. We need to say to people that if you cannot meet standards, there has to be a consequence, instead of the soft bigotry of low expectations. One of the consequences is we allow parents to have choices.

GORE: I see a day where there are no failing schools; where the classrooms are small enough so the teacher can spend one-on-one time with each student. That means recruiting teachers. It means hiring bonuses to get 100,000 new teachers in the next four years. It means helping with interest-free bonding authority, so that we can build new schools and modernize classrooms. I want to give every middle class family a $10,000 deduction for college tuition to send their kids to college. If a school is failing, we work with the states to give them the authority and resources to close down that school and reopen it with a new principal, a new faculty.

Source: St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

Blueprint: parental options; promote savings; zero-tolerance

Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class Sep 17, 2000

Move Head Start to Education Dept., teach all kids to read

Bush promoted his initiative, “Reading First,” a $5 billion that will help states teach every child to read by the third grade. States that elect to participate will have to meet criteria including offering reading diagnostics and training for kindergarten to second grade teachers in reading preparation. Bush will move Head Start to the Department of Education. “I am committed to giving every American child the best possible shot toward the American dream by teaching every child to read.”
Source: Press Release, “Help Disadvantaged Children” Sep 1, 2000

Education is most important campaign issue

Bush said “in order to reform education you’ve got to hold people accountable and there needs to be strong accountability and local control of schools. Our goal is not just to win an election. Our goal is to spur a great movement in education reform by putting an education reformer in the White House.” Bush says education is his top priority. His proposals include school accountability based on yearly testing and reading diagnostics and special teacher training for kindergarten through second grade.
Source: Kelley Shannon (AP), NY Times Aug 28, 2000

Education motivates Bush’s run, says his wife

Laura Bush:I’ve never given a speech before this many people before, but I feel very at home in this classroom setting. Education is the living room of my life. I first decided to become a teacher when I was in the second grade. Neither of my parents graduated from college, but I knew at an early age that they had that high hope and high expectation for me. My father always said, “Don’t worry, your education will be taken care of.” George and I always read to our girls. Dr. Seuss’ “Hop on Pop“ was one of his favorites. We wanted to teach our children what our parents had taught us, that reading is entertaining and interesting and important. And one of the major reasons George is running for president is to make sure that every child in America has that same opportunity. That’s why he’s proposed a $5 billion reading first initiative, with a great American purpose, to make sure every child in every neighborhood can read on grade level by the end of the third grade.
Source: Laura Bush remarks at GOP Convention Jul 31, 2000

Give states flexibility and financial incentives

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Fund & honor character education

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Reform & support Head Start

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Apply Texas Reading Initiative to US: all 3rd graders read

About the only Bush mandate not in the existing program is the requirement for diagnostic reading tests in the early elementary grades, currently a practice in only a handful of states. Most elementary school teachers assess the reading skills of entering students informally.
Texas has developed a formal diagnostic test of its own and requires districts to use it to detect reading problems among its youngest students. The Bush campaign has credited the Texas Reading Initiative with improving the reading scores of third-graders on the state’s basic skills test after just two years--which usually is not enough time to evaluate any education reform. Texas says the pass rate for third-graders has increased 13% over the period.
Bush’s goal is to assure that every student can read by the end of third grade, the same objective of the federal reading grants and other programs begun during the Clinton administration.
Source: Kenneth Cooper, Washington Post, p. A6 Apr 2, 2000

Federal funding & flexible state design for Reading First

States and local districts that apply for the new federal funds ($5 billion under Bush’s proposed ‘Reading First’ program) will have freedom and flexibility to choose or design the diagnostic tools and intervention programs, which must meet certain standards-based on scientific research. Bush said, “My agenda is different from those who argue there is no federal role in educating our children, and different from those who would throw money into our schools without reforming them.”
Source: Press Release reprinted in “Renewing America’s Purpose” Mar 28, 2000

Texas school record is improving, with many minorities

FORBES [to Bush] On education you’ve dumbed down the standards to the point where in Texas your SAT ranking has gone from 40th in the nation to 46th. What can you tell the people of America that you won’t do in Washington what you’ve done in Texas?

BUSH: Because we have set high standards, abolished social promotion, got a vibrant charter school movement, got a public school choice movement. -we’re making the best progress in the nation for improvement amongst minority students.

FORBES: On SAT’s, Texas is one of the few states where minority scores have gone down-not up. Eighth-grade science tests in Texas shows a picture of four insects and says, pick out the fly.

BUSH: The test scores in my state. show dramatic improvement. Our SAT scores have improved since I’ve been the governor.

FORBES. Your ranking went down.

BUSH: Unlike many states, we make sure as many kids can take the SAT as possible. We include all kinds of children. We want our children in Texas to take the SAT.

Source: (X-ref from Forbes) GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Expand character education via federal funding

Our schools ought to expand character education. The federal government [should] encourage school districts through joint venture money to have character education that teaches children right from wrong, good from bad, basic values of life. Our after school programs ought to be open to faith-based programs, programs that will say to our children, we care for you a lot, but in order to access the American dream there are right decisions to make in life and there are wrong decisions to make in life.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Public school misalign authority and responsibility

When you give local schools and teachers the responsibility for teaching, yet try to have a distant authority dictate how they do so, you have defied this management principle and created a convenient excuse for failure. [Bush proposes] a new kind of school, tough-love academics, and boot camps and, as the last stop, more beds in our juvenile justice system.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 28-31 Dec 9, 1999

State funding for schools, with local control

The state, not local property taxes, should be the primary source of funds for the schools. Local property taxes are inherently unfair and unequal, because property values are different in different parts of the state. I also believed strongly in local control of schools. local parents and teachers and locally elected school boards were far more accountable than. centralized state education agency in Austin.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 24. Dec 9, 1999

Zero toleration policy for discipline problems in schools

We will have zero tolerance for discipline problems in our classrooms. We must assure our teachers they are allowed to teach and guarantee their right to learn without disruption or fear of violence. But we can’t just throw discipline problems out on the streets, so that is why I want a new kind of school, tough-love academies, and boot camps and, as the last stop, more beds in our juvenile justice system.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 30-31. Dec 9, 1999

Effective curriculum comes from clear standards

A straightforward list of academic expectations, that’s what I wanted. A clear list of what students should know, and when they should know it. That’s what a curriculum should be. I believe the role of the state is to set high education standards and hold local school districts accountable for results. The standards should reflect what we expect fourth-grader to know before they move to the fifth grade, what body of knowledge a student should have to earn a high school diploma in Texas.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.201-210 Dec 9, 1999

Replace “English Only” with “English Plus” Spanish

I believe people who live and work in America must learn to speak English. English is our common language and reflects our common bond. I want all of America’s children to learn to read and write in English, plus I want my own daughters to learn Spanish. Plus, I make an effort to speak Spanish myself. Plus, I recognize that the Hispanic heritage and culture are important to my state and our country. “English-only” says me, not you. It says I count, but you do not. That is not the message of America.“
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.237. Dec 9, 1999

More state and local control over education

Bush espoused giving state and local governments more control over education, including curriculum, disciplining students and punishing juvenile offenders. “Trust local people to make decisions for their schools.”
Source: Associated Press Jun 25, 1999

Commit funds to education and tax cuts

We can show Washington how to handle a budget surplus. During times of plenty, we must not commit our state to programs we cannot afford in the future. We must meet basic needs, dedicate the lion’s share of new money to public schools, then send money back to the hands who earned it - the taxpayers of Texas. Tomorrow, I will submit a budget that is balanced and limits government’s growth. It reflects my two major priorities: school children and taxpayers.
Source: (Cross-ref from Budget & Economy) 1999 State of the State Ad Jun 14, 1999

Use phonics to keep kids reading at grade level.

We have got a new goal in Texas: Every single child, every child, no excuses, should be reading at grade level by the third grade and remain at the appropriate grade level throughout his or her entire public school career. We rewrote curriculum in Texas. Phonics is now an integral part of the Texas curriculum. Because of foundations in Texas, we are retraining teachers how to teach the new curriculum.
Source: Right Choices for Youth Conf., Austin TX Mar 31, 1999

Bilingual ed; Corporate investment; Teachers Academies

Source: 1998 National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Federal role is funding & accountability; local innovation

Q: Is it possible to improve education with a little money? BUSH: Let me give you a story about public ed. It’s about KIPP Academy in Houston. It’s one of the best schools in Houston. The key ingredients are high expectations, strong accountability. As a result, these Hispanic youngsters are some of the best learners in Houston. Laura and I sent our girls to public school.
    Here’s the role of the federal government:
  1. to change Head Start into a reading program.
  2. to say that if you want to access reading money, you can get it.
  3. we’ve got to consolidate federal programs to free the schools to encourage innovators.
  4. we’re going to say, if you receive federal money, show us whether or not children are learning to read and write and add and subtract.
  5. And, if so, there will be a bonus plan, but if not, instead of continuing to subsidize failure, the money will go to the parent so the parent can choose a different public school.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Accountability in schools, even with some federal control

Q: If, as you propose, a state receives Title I money for schools, and is required to impose standardized tests, doesn’t that give the federal government control over education, whis you oppose?

A: We leave the testing to local & state authorities. We hold people accountable. Today, you receive Title I money, you don’t have to show anybody whether or not the children are learning. That doesn’t work. That’s a system that gives up on children.

Q: We’re saying the same thing but with different words. What you are saying is once you take federal money, the department of education is going to tell you that you must develop tests to judge your children.

A: Absolutely. If you receive Title I money, you must show the taxpayers that the children are learning. Accountability is the core to success. In order to make sure children are not left behind it’s important to measure so we can correct problems early. A system without accountability is a system that quits on our children in America.

Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles Mar 2, 2000

Local control and accountability will prevent failure

Q: How much power should the federal government have over state education? A: It starts with trusting local people to make the right decisions for their schools. I strongly believe in local control of schools; I’ll work with the Congress to pass power back from Washington in block grant form to states. But when the federal government spends money, I’m going to ask this question: What are the results? We must ask school districts and states that accept federal money to develop an accountability system.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Praise and reward successful schools; shame failures

Bush outlined a plan for the Federal Government to give the states much more discretion over how they spend Federal dollars, to create financial incentives for states to improve student performance and to pave the way for the proliferation of charter schools. Bush said all students should be tested yearly in reading and math, and that Federal aid should reflect the results. “We will praise and reward success - and I promise you, I will shine a spotlight of shame on failure.”
Source: New York Times, p. A14 Oct 6, 1999

Establish standards, then let school districts meet them

Bush implied that the model he has followed in Texas, which involves a strong role for the state in establishing and monitoring school standards while giving local districts flexibility to meet them, would also work from Washington. “The role of the federal government, the role of the president is to set a vision that we don’t want anybody left behind,” he said. “Starting with this: high standards.”
Source: Dan Balz, The Washington Post Apr 25, 1999

Results-oriented systems: OK to link funding to performance

Bush said he would encourage “results-oriented systems” and measure all federal education programs to see whether they assure high standards locally. On Clinton’s State of the Union proposal to link federal money to school performance, a measure many Republicans find intrusive, Bush said, “In principle I would not necessarily oppose it.”
Source: Dan Balz, The Washington Post Apr 25, 1999

End social promotion in grade schools

Last year, in the state of Texas 38,000 people failed the third grade reading test. 38,000 and guess what happened to them? They went to fourth grade. That means somebody has got low hopes and low standards, and low expectations. I believe we need to en the practice of socially promoting Texas students. I think we need to identify who needs help early. I think we need to start with children in kindergarten next year and say if you need help we are going to give it to you today, before it’s too late.
Source: Right Choices for Youth Conf., Austin TX Mar 31, 1999

Against social promotion.

When children artificially rise in the school system through social promotion, no one wins. The child is set up for frustration and failure. Parents are left with a false impression of their children’s abilities, and teachers must adjust instruction to accommodate under-prepared children. To ensure a quality education for every Texas child, we must put a stop to this practice that creates false hopes, fuels the dropout rate and destroys the dreams of too many children.
Source: www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/faq_index.html 12/31/98 Dec 31, 1998

No-nonsense basic curriculum focusing on results

Our legacy must be to have the best public education system in the world. Our system must be based on high expectations and high standards for every child. It must be a system that focuses on no-nonsense, basic curriculum; a system that aligns authority and responsibility at the local level, a system that is flexible and encourages educational entrepreneurship. A system that focuses on results, not process. And a system that first and foremost teaches all our children to read.
Source: Powell Lecture Series, Texas A&M Univ. Apr 6, 1998

Set clear goals, use early tests

We set clear goals: excellence in a core curriculum of reading, math, science, and social studies. We developed a diagnostic tool to help kindergarten through second grade teachers detect and correct reading problems early. We created a rigorous core curriculum that is knowledge-based, back-to-basics, and phonics-driven. A child who does not pass the reading portion of the TAAS test in the 3rd grade must receive appropriate intervention & instruction before moving to regular classes in the 4th grade.
Source: Texas Educators Conf., Austin TX Jan 27, 1998

$1800 more for Pell Grants; make college affordable

Bush called for an education package designed to help low- and middle-income families send their children to college. “College is every parent’s dream for their children, and we should make this opportunity available to all students. It’s the path to achievement.” The plan calls for an increase in the maximum federal Pell Grant available for first-year college students from $3,300 to $5,100.
Source: Story on CNN.com Aug 30, 2000

$310M for “impact aid” schools near military bases

Bush proposed adding $310 million to the “impact aid” program [which gives federal money to schools near military bases], increasing the budget by more than a third. “Our men and women in service put their lives on the line to defend our freedom,” Bush said. “We have a special obligation to rebuild the schools that educate their children. As president, I will ensure that this obligation is met. This funding means that thousands of students who are dependents of military personnel and attend public schools located near or on military facilities around the country will learn in better school environments.“

The justification for the program has always been that school districts need compensation because the children of federal workers and people who work on military bases attend public schools that are supported by property taxes, but the federal government does not pay local taxes. But for decades, budget experts have put the impact aid program in the category of pork barrel politics.

Source: David Rosenbaum, NY Times, p. A19 Aug 21, 2000

$13B on education programs over 5 years

Source: Washington Post, p. A6 Apr 2, 2000

Shift $7B from Title I to low-income schools

Bush calls for a shift in the spending of money from the federal Title I program that sends $7.7 billion a year to schools with students from low-income families. Bush wants all schools that get Title I funds, about 44,000, to offer annual exams - determined by each state’s standards - to measure student performance on basic academics. Schools that fail to show annual progress would get warnings from the federal government. After 3 strikes, a school would be out and the money given to the states.
Source: Ken Herman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sep 3, 1999

Vouchers ensure school accountability

Bush said he was sticking with his education proposal, which calls, among other things, for parents to receive tuition vouchers that would allow them to send their children to private schools. “In the course of the campaign, I said that we were going to insist upon strong accountability -- that if a district or school receives federal money, they must measure so we know (if children are learning),” Bush said. If after a period of time, the schools did not meet certain standards, the federal monies that would have been spent on each child in the school system could be used by parents to send their children to private schools, Bush said, but left room for debate: “I’ve always believed that a voucher plan is up to the states.”
Source: CNN.com reporting from USA Today Jan 12, 2001

Charters encourage innovative methods & provide choices

Charter schools encourage educational entrepreneurs to try innovative methods. They break up the monopoly of one-size-fits-all education. These diverse, creative schools are proof that parents from all walks of life are willing to challenge the status quo if it means a better education for their children. More competition and more choices for parents and students will raise the bar for everyone.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.233 - 234 Dec 9, 1999

Shift Title I funds to parents for failed schools

Bush wants all schools that get Title I funds - about 44,000 schools receive a total of $7.7 billion - to offer annual exams to measure student performance on basic academics. Schools that fail to show annual progress would get warnings from the federal government. After three strikes, a school would be out and the money given to the states, which would set up education accounts for parents amounting to about $1,500 a year per student. The money could be spent on private school tuition.
Source: Ken Herman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sep 3, 1999

Let’s try vouchers in failing schools.

[P]arents from all walks of life are hungry for a better education for their children. I know there’s a huge debate raging, but we must not trap students in low-performing schools. It is time to see if it works: Let’s try a pilot voucher program.
Source: Time Magazine 4/26/99 p. 36 Apr 26, 1999

Vouchers a priority; encourage their spread

Although he has been unsuccessful in persuading the Texas Legislature to enact a modest school voucher program, Bush said he would make vouchers a priority as president. Noting vouchers were ‘public enemy number one’ to some advocates of public schools, Bush added, “We’ve got to figure out how to encourage the spread of vouchers so as to improve public schools and to convince people it will improve public schools. And we have not done a good job yet in Texas, apparently.”
Source: Dan Balz, The Washington Post Apr 25, 1999

Supports trying charter schools and vouchers

Let’s show Texas is not afraid to change and innovate. During the last four years, we have provided new outlets for educational entrepreneurs - charter schools, open-enrollment campuses, public school choice. These bold experiments have shown that parent from all walks of life are hungry for a better education for their children. I know there’s a huge debate raging, but we must not trap students in low-performing schools. It is time to see if it works: Let’s try a pilot voucher program.
Source: 1999 State of the State Address, Austin TX Jan 27, 1999

For charter schools; public school choice; vouchers

Source: 1998 National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Established funding for charter schools

I strongly support public school charters. In Texas today, we have 19 charters up and running-and another 41 charters are scheduled to go on line. We have started. two non-profit foundations to help charter school entrepreneurs. The resource center will help education entrepreneurs get the assistance they need. And the financial foundation will loan funds to new charter schools to help finance early-stage costs and/or working capital needs.
Source: Natl.Center for Policy Analysis, Dallas, TX Mar 31, 1998

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George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
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