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Fact Sheet: The National Teacher of the Year: A Commitment to Education Excellence

April 26, 2006

Today, President Bush Recognized Kimberly Oliver As The 2006 National Teacher Of The Year. Strengthening America's education system is one of the President's top priorities. While improving the quality of education requires good laws and policies, success ultimately depends on good teachers. Kim Oliver's dedication and commitment to excellence helped turn around Broad Acres Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland. Within three years of her arrival, the school went from possible forced restructuring as a result of poor academic performance to meeting or exceeding all No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements - with dramatic increases in reading and math scores for the school's second graders.

No Child Left Behind - The President's Commitment To Strengthening Education

With NCLB, The Nation Made A New Commitment To Reforming Education. NCLB benefits and empowers children, parents, teachers, and schools. America is challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations; ending the shuffling of children through the system; and building an education system that prepares children for the demands of the global economy. The Administration is raising expectations and increasing accountability; giving local authorities more flexibility with Federal funds; requiring curricula based on proven methods of successful teaching; and giving parents options when schools fail.

  • The President Has Made Education Funding A Priority. Since 2001, the Administration has increased spending on elementary and secondary education by 41 percent. Title I funding for disadvantaged students is up 45 percent, and funding for the Reading First program has quadrupled.

NCLB Is Raising Standards And Ensuring That The Educational Progress Of More Children Than Ever Before Is Measured. The role of the Federal government is to insist on standards, provide resources, hold people accountable, and help school districts meet those standards. Under NCLB, schools that take Federal education money must show whether children are learning and whether expectations are being met. Because states are testing students and measuring performance, we can see that NCLB is producing results as test scores go up and the achievement gap narrows.

  • States Have Adopted Accountability Plans. Under NCLB, states are required to design accountability plans and test students every year, from third to eighth grade. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have designed and adopted accountability plans to test students and measure progress.
  • Standards And Accountability Are Working. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation's Report Card, the achievement of young students has risen since 2002. In 2005, America's fourth graders posted the best reading and math scores in the test's history. For fourth graders in reading, there has been more progress in the last five years than in the previous 28 combined. Eighth graders earned the highest math scores ever recorded for that grade by the NAEP.
  • The Achievement Gap Is Closing. Minority students are also making progress at a faster rate, narrowing the achievement gap. According to the NAEP, African-American and Hispanic fourth graders set records in both reading and math scores. Eighth-grade Hispanic and African-American students achieved their highest math scores ever.

The Administration Is Working To Build On The Success Of NCLB By Bringing Accountability And High Standards To Our Nation's Public High Schools. NCLB is working, but we must continue holding schools accountable. The Nation needs to improve its high schools and test students in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades. The President has proposed initiatives to improve education by, for example, having more math and science professionals serve as adjunct high school teachers and training more teachers for Advanced Placement courses. With these reforms, the quality of secondary education will improve, and we can ensure that every student leaving high school in America has the skills they need to succeed in college and the 21st century economy.

The American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) - Strengthening Math And Science Education

The ACI Will Help American Students Obtain The Knowledge They Need To Succeed In The 21st Century. The President has launched the ACI to help our students do better in math and science. We will train 70,000 high school teachers to lead Advanced Placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math. If we ensure America's children have the skills they need to succeed in life, they will ensure America succeeds in the world.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: The National Teacher of the Year: A Commitment to Education Excellence Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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