Bush's education plan should be given every opportunity to succeed

-- Star Tribune, Minneapolis Jan. 29

Posted: Monday, February 05, 2001

Candidate George W. Bush told Americans that improving education to ''leave no child behind'' topped his priority list. Now President Bush has demonstrated his commitment to that theme by offering a promising education agenda as his first major policy proposal.

... (T)he Bush plan contains much to applaud. He clearly wants to focus federal attention where it is needed most -- on struggling schools and low-income students. His proposal puts proper emphasis on early literacy, arguably the most important component of educational success. ...

The most controversial element of the Bush proposal involves vouchers. Should a school fail to measure up within three years, his plan would allow parents to use about $1,500 in federal Title 1 funds either for another public program or for private school. ...

Though Bush and the Democrats differ on vouchers, they agree in many other areas and have an excellent chance of reaching consensus. To his credit, Bush has reached out to those with whom he disagrees. He held a listening meeting with education experts prior to taking office; and just last week he appeared with Democratic and Republican education committee chairs at a Washington public school.

Just as his father did, Bush says he wants to be an ''education president.'' His education strategy, enthusiasm for the topic and strong interest in bipartisanship will move him closer to that goal.

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