Every child is entitled to a high quality, public education. This principle is so deeply held in Wisconsin that it is written into our state's constitution. I believe that principle must be applied to all children in America. While this objective has yet to be reached, it is absolutely essential that the federal government be a partner with state and local government to provide the resources necessary to make it a reality.
In 2001, Congress passed the "No Child Left Behind" Act to improve standards, hold schools accountable for performance and provide additional resources. In many ways, No Child Left Behind is a positive step forward. However, there are significant problems that need to be addressed. I support legislation to make testing requirements more rational. In addition, I support full funding of the legislation. President Bush and the Republican controlled Congress have under-funded "No Child Left Behind" by billions of dollars. The goals of the law will never be achieved without the promised funding.
The federal government must also meet its commitment to pay for 40% of the costs of implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Requiring local school districts to provide IDEA services, while the federal government is paying less than half its commitment puts a significant financial burden on local districts. This burden ends up falling on property tax payers.