Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I am pleased to be a cosponsor of Senator Murray's amendment to the budget resolution that will fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act. I regret that I will not be present for the vote, but if I were present I would vote for the Murray amendment to increase education funding by $8.9 billion.
Unfortunately, both the budget resolution that we are debating and President Bush's proposed fiscal year 2004 budget do not fulfill the funding commitment that Congress made when we passed the No Child Left Behind Act into law. In fact, the budget resolution contains a $700 million cut in funding for the No Child Left Behind Act compared to the fiscal year 2003 levels.
The budget resolution's title I funding leaves more than 6 million disadvantaged children behind. There is no increase for teacher quality funds, even though nearly 40 percent of title I children are taught by teachers without a college degree in their primary instructional field and our schools will need to hire 2 million new teachers over the next decade. While 6 million latchkey children currently go without afterschool programs, this budget cuts afterschool funding for more than 500,000 children. And it eliminates all funding for rural education, dropout prevention, preparing tomorrow's teachers in technology, and smaller learning communities among other things.
We have said it time and again during debate on No Child Left Behind and since it became law: new reforms and stronger accountability systems are not going to work if we don't provide resources to ensure that all children can learn to high standards. That means providing the full authorized amount of title I funding, it means helping schools meet the major new requirements for teacher quality that the law imposed, and it means increasing not slashing funding for afterschool programs. I hope all of my colleagues can support this important amendment.