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Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Staff
January 14, 2004

Education System Flooded with Cash, Republicans Reports


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- States will receive another hefty increase in federal No Child Left Behind Title I education aid later this year, despite the fact that many are still sitting on unspent Title I funds appropriated for their use as long as three and a half years ago, according to new figures released today by the House Committee on Education & the Workforce. Since No Child Left Behind was signed into law, states will have received an average increase of 42% in federal Title I aid, the report shows.

          "We are pumping gas into a flooded engine," said House Education & the Workforce committee chairman John Boehner (R-OH). "The federal government has increased education spending so rapidly that many states haven't even been able to spend down the money we appropriated for them two years ago, when No Child Left Behind was first enacted."

          Boehner blasted the National Education Association (NEA) for applying a different standard to President Bush than it applied to President Clinton on the topic of education funding.

          "When Democrats controlled Congress and the White House, they routinely appropriated less than they technically authorized for major education programs, yet the NEA never once accused President Clinton of underfunding education," Boehner noted. "But when a Republican president moved into the White House, the NEA moved the goalposts."

          According to a new report released today by the House Committee on Education & the Workforce majority staff entitled "No Child Left Behind Funding: Pumping Gas into a Flooded Engine?," states would receive another significant increase in Title I aid targeted to disadvantaged students under the House-passed FY2004 Omnibus spending bill, expected to be passed later this month by the U.S. Senate. Since the No Child Left Behind legislation was signed into law in January 2002, Title I funding will have increased by $3.6 billion once the FY2004 spending bill is signed into law, including the $1.6 billion increase in FY2002 and $1.3 billion increase in FY2003.

          The report highlights the fact that increases in federal education funding are coming as states are sitting on $5.75 billion in federal education funding, including nearly $2 billion in Title I aid, from FY2000 through FY2002.

          Boehner also highlighted results of a recent national survey released by Americans for Better Education showing public support for the No Child Left Behind education law remains rock-solid, particularly among African-Americans and parents with children in public schools, even after two years of false and negative attacks by education reform opponents.

          "The results of this new national survey show convincingly that parents with children in public schools reject the negative rhetoric and excuses of the NEA and other education reform opponents," Boehner said. "Americans continue to support the President's call for high standards and accountability for results. Americans believe No Child Left Behind is reasonable. And the results show the President's political opponents are getting little traction from their false attacks suggesting the law is underfunded."

The national survey, which has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points, was conducted on behalf of Americans for Better Education (www.bettered.org) by The Winston Group on January 5-6, 2004. Among the poll's key findings:

  • NCLB is viewed favorably by a solid majority of Americans, with support highest among African-Americans and parents of children in public schools. No Child Left Behind is viewed favorably by the American public (54% favorable, 23% unfavorable), with a national name identification of 87%. African-Americans have a favorable view of No Child Left Behind at a higher margin (60-17) than the national number. Married women with children view NCLB favorably by a 58-26 margin. Parents of children in public schools favor NCLB by a 61-22 margin.

  • The more details Americans hear about NCLB's goals, the more they like it. After Americans are given a brief description of No Child Left Behind, approval of the law goes up by 16 points to an overwhelming 68 percent (68-25).

  • High standards and accountability trump spending. Americans like the philosophy of standards and accountability. A whopping 60% believe raising standards and accountability is more important to improving America's schools than increasing funding (30%).

  • Americans do not believe NCLB is unreasonable. Americans overwhelmingly (67%) believe the reason schools are being rated by states as underperforming under No Child Left Behind is because those schools truly need help, not because standards are unreasonable (21%).

  • Americans do not believe students take too many tests. Asked which is the bigger problem -- children passing through U.S. schools without learning to read, or children being forced to take too many tests -- Americans overwhelmingly (77%) believe the more important problem in education is that children are passing through schools without learning to read. Only 18% believe the bigger problem is too many tests.

  • Americans believe the federal government should hold states and schools accountable for results when they use federal education funds. Americans overwhelmingly (71%) believe the federal government should be able to hold states and local schools accountable for using federal funds to improve student achievement; only 25% do not.

  • More Americans are seeing a local impact. In the ABE survey done a year ago (December 29-30, 2002), 23% were aware of NCLB having an impact in their local schools. The new ABE survey shows 33% awareness of a local impact of NCLB, coupled with significant public support for the reforms themselves.

# # # # #

Please visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/issues/108th/
education/nclb/nclbfundingreport.pdf
to download a copy of "No Child Left Behind Funding: Pumping Gas into a Flooded Engine?" report.

Please visit http://www.bettered.org for a copy of the Americans for Better Education's poll results.

This document is not necessarily endorsed by the Almanac of Policy Issues. It is being preserved  in the Policy Archive for historic reasons.

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