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Published in Print: September 8, 2004, as Republican Platform on Education

Republican Platform on Education

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Here are excerpts from the education section of the 2004 Republican Party platform, approved Aug. 30 at the party’s convention in New York City:

"... On just his fourth day in office, President Bush presented the No Child Left Behind initiative to Congress. Less than a year later, he secured an overwhelming bipartisan majority to pass the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It was the most significant overhaul of federal education policy since 1965. And it became a promise kept to parents, students, teachers, and every American. ...

With this success, Republicans have transformed the debate on education. We are the party parents can trust to improve schools and provide opportunity for all children, in every neighborhood, regardless of background or income. We are the party willing to embrace new ideas and put them to the test. Americans agree that the status quo in education is no longer acceptable. We have challenged low expectations and poor achievement, and we are seeing results.

Now is the time to extend the progress we’ve made. The No Child Left Behind Act is already showing gains in elementary school, as student achievement scores for 4th and 8th graders have increased in classrooms across America. Our next mission is to take the reforms that we know are working in elementary schools and apply them up and down the education ladder—starting in early-childhood education, so that children enter school ready to learn, and finishing in high school, so that every young adult who graduates has the skills he or she needs to succeed in the 21st-century economy. For too long, the value of a high school diploma has declined as students leave school without even basic skills like reading and math, let alone the advanced math and science skills the modern workforce demands. We pledge to bring real reform to high schools. ...

President Bush and congressional Republicans have provided the largest increase in federal education funding in history and the highest percentage gain since the 1960s.

Support for elementary and secondary education has had the largest increase in any single presidential term since the 1960s—an increase of nearly 50 percent since 2001. The president and Congress are particularly focused on programs for America’s neediest students, including minorities and children with special needs. With this increased funding comes a new focus on achievement and results. ...

Our party believes, as does the president, that reading is the new civil right. Every child must be able to read by the end of the 3rd grade. The president and congressional Republicans have taken important steps to help every student achieve that goal. The Reading First initiative brings scientifically based reading instruction, including phonics, to children in the early grades. Over $1.4 billion in funding for reading programs provides training for teachers and materials for children. In addition, since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, states have received additional funds for early-childhood reading efforts. ... "

Vol. 24, Issue 02, Page 36

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