Dick Gephardt, who voted for President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, now says it’s a deliberate scheme to undermine public schools.
“George Bush is deliberately setting up public schools to fail so he can say there is no choice but to take money away from public schools. There’s only one way to fix No Child Left Behind, and that is to leave George Bush behind,” he said Saturday at New England College in Henniker (New Hampshire).
No Child Left Behind penalizes schools that fail to show improvement and would allow parents to move their children to another school in the same district under some circumstances.
“Rather than support a struggling school, they tell parents to cut and run,” he said.
“George Bush is setting up children to fail and then using their failure to advance a right-wing agenda. If George Bush truly believed in this law, then he’d provide the funding to pay for it, rather than wasting the money on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.”
Gephardt defended public education, saying most schools are succeeding, and that Bush is highlighting those that aren’t.
Bush has raised federal funding for education dramatically, though it represents a small fraction of total education spending. Gephardt said he voted for the law two years ago because it raised education spending. “He said he hoped the flaws could be fixed.” With more funding.