Despite mounting resistance to the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush on April 28 called it “a good piece of legislation” that he will push hard to protect.
“I will do everything I can to prevent people from unwinding it,” he said of the 3-year-old law.
Asked at a nationally televised news conference in the East Room of the White House for his thoughts on a lawsuit launched recently by the National Education Association over the way his administration is carrying out the law, Mr. Bush said, “I don’t know about the lawsuit; I’m not a lawyer.”
But he said his response to states and others who don’t like the law is this: “If you teach a child to read and write, it shouldn’t bother you whether you measure. That’s all we’re asking.”
Moreover, he said, he often heard positive feedback on the law from individual teachers.
“I hear teachers talk to me about how thrilled they are with No Child Left Behind; they appreciate the fact that the system now shows deficiencies early so they can correct those problems,” the president said. “And it is working.”
Mr. Bush said that, as a former governor, he believes “states ought to control their own destiny when it comes to schools.” Yet federal spending for the No Child Left Behind Act has increased dramatically, he said, so his administration is right to “expect the states to show us whether or not we’re achieving simple objectives,” chiefly “the ability to read and write.”