Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Tuesday to give public schools the resources needed to properly educate children.
Clinton, addressing teachers and education advocates in Storm Lake, also criticized President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” education initiative, which is widely scorned by teachers who argue it doesn’t provide schools the money needed to meet federal standards.
“I’m not sure we’ve given you the tools and support you need,” Clinton told the crowd. “Everything else has changed.”
The New York senator spoke at a summer conference of the Iowa State Education Association, a union representing 32,000 teachers and one of the most potent political forces in Iowa.
About 375 delegates gave Clinton a warm reception punctuated by repeated standing ovations, particularly as she recounted her days as a child advocate with the Children’s Defense Fund.
“I have watched with great concern the steady drumbeat of attacks against public education,” she said. “We know what educating our children really demands.”
She said she joined the Children’s Defense Fund after graduating from law school and helped it conduct a study that offered the first solid evidence that many children with disabilities weren’t getting a quality education.
“It was one of the pieces of evidence used to convince Congress to pass legislation, the first in the world, that required that we educate children with disabilities,” she said. “I’m so proud our country took that on.”
Clinton touted her proposal to offer $10 billion over the next decade to improve public schools. She said her proposal is an example of what she could offer America’s children that President Bush has not provided.
“It’s as though our children and our teachers are invisible to this president,” Clinton said. “They will not be invisible to the next president of the United States.
“I will use the bully pulpit. I will provide the resources.”
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