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Bush and Democrats Propose Education Reform

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George W. Bush yesterday unveiled a multi-billion dollar school reform package under which children would be testedevery year in math and reading from the third through the eighth grades. Those states, districts and schools thatimprove achievement would be rewarded, but if schools failed to meet minimum standards two years in a row, parentscould take federal education funds and spend them on a private school.

Meanwhile, a group of moderate House and Senate Democrats, led by former Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen.Joseph Lieberman, introduced an education plan of their own. Like Bush’s plan, the proposal emphasized schoolaccountability,’ but rejected the voucher provisions. Schools that excel would be rewarded with bonuses, whilefailing ones would be forced to implement new lesson plans or be shut down.

Both plans revolve around the idea of school accountability’ and rigorous student testing, which has been embraced byan increasing number of schools in recent years. Yesterday members of the Coalition for Educational Justice, acoalition of parents, students and teachers from Los Angeles, protested at the Los Angeles School Board over GovernorGray Davis’ new plan to allocate more than $700 million based on standardized test scores.

Guests:

  • Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-MN.
  • Linda McNeil, Professor of Education, Rice University; Co-director, Rice Center for Education
  • Kirty Baranwal, Teacher for the Los Angeles United School District; member, Coalition for EducationalJustice

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