The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

No money for "No Child Left Behind"

Sep 22, 2003

George W. Bush misses no opportunity to brag about his federal Education Act, dubbed "No Child Left Behind." He says that the key to enforcing this law is to hold schools accountable – by giving parents the right to transfer their children from low-achieving schools to better ones.

This year for the first time, letters are being sent to parents notifying parents about their transfer rights, as required by the law. Potentially, all students in a school which has failed to meet testing standards two years in a row may now choose to go to another school.

That's thousands of schools across the country. But the big question is: what other school would all these students go to? In rural areas, the next available school can easily be hours away. And in the country's big cities, where many of the low-scoring schools are, overcrowding is already the rule. Most of the states have not only not built enough schools in their poor, overcrowded urban districts for decades; they also now claim to have budget deficits and further cut funding to schools.

So perhaps George W. would help, providing federal funds? After all, he is the one who said he would leave "no child behind." Not a chance: in fact, he has been busy cutting federal funds for education too. Of the 18 billion dollars Congress authorized for "No Child Left Behind," for example, the Bush administration has budgeted only 12 billion, cutting one-third of the funding even before the program was implemented!

In the meantime, of course, Bush has asked Congress to give him an additional 87 billion dollars for the occupation of Iraq. And he has been giving the richest layers of the population big tax cuts. Apparently, Bush meant only the children of the rich when he said no child would be left behind!

As for the children of the working class, Bush has not only left them way behind – he and his fellow politicians in the service of the big bosses have launched a fierce attack on their very future.