Bush Education Policy
Leaving Children Behind
Special Guest: D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
In his campaign, Govenor Bush promised to be a different sort of Republican on Education. Like his father — who promised to be the “Education President” but did little to improve it — G.W. Bush promised to “leave no child left behind.”
Congress took President Bush at his word, and a bipartisan majority approved his “No Child Left Behind Act” which was supposed to increase the accountability of schools via frequent national testing AND increase the funds going to our public schools.
Unfortunately, Bush and the Republican Congress short-changed the schools, increasing national testing but denying the promised funds. Everyone in the Beltway knows this. And few outside Washington do.
Now, by a one-vote margin (with District of Columbia Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton denied the right to vote), Congress has forced DC to try an experiment largely rejected elsewhere around the country: providing vouchers to allow some poor children to escape failing public schools and go to religious private schools instead. Thus, your taxpayer dollars are used to make DC children better Christians, but it does it really help them learn better? More importantly, does it help the children “left behind” in public schools learn better? Would the right-wing support the idea if 99% of the schools were secular rather than religious?
Another little-known item: Bush is cutting eligibility for Federal Student Aid. And he wants to cut off federal aid to any student who has ever been convicted of marijuana possession, thus denying a college education to poor and middle-class kids — but not rich ones — who have used drugs. After all, if drug-users were also refused entry to college, would Bush himself have gotten a college education?
My guest was Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congresswoman for the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia, of course, is the only place on American soil where American citizens are denied voting representation in the United States Congress — because Republicans do not support extending equal American democracy to a Democratic-leaning city.