January 8, 2004 - The three co-chairs of the House New Democrat Coalition, Representatives Jim Davis (FL-11), Ron Kind (WI-03), and Adam Smith (WA-09), issued the following joint statement on the 2nd anniversary of the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act.
This week marks the two-year anniversary of the enactment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. New Democrats played an integral role in ensuring that NCLB refocused federal education policy on raising academic achievement for every child, provided public schools with more funding and flexibility, targeted those new dollars to districts with the greatest needs, and demanded accountability for results.
Unfortunately, over the past two years we have seen the Administration and Republican Congressional Leadership underfund this important Act, forcing our nation's public schools to cut critical programs that ensure public schools make the grade and educate our most needy children. For this year alone, the NCLB received $7.5 billion less than what is authorized under current law. Instead of barnstorming the country and taking credit for this legislation, the President should be working to ensure that NCLB is fully funded, properly implemented and that schools districts and teachers receive proper assistance and guidance. By failing to allocate the needed funds, the White House has exacerbated the fiscal crisis in states and localities. This has a direct and harmful impact on children and their schools.
As New Democrats, we believe every child must be given the opportunity to learn the skills they need to compete in the increasingly global economy. We remain committed to improving the performance and accountability of our schools, yet this historic opportunity will be lost as long as the Administration and congressional Republican Leadership continue to ignore their responsibilities to educate all of our nation's children. As we begin work on the fiscal year 2005 budget our top priority will be to provide the necessary resources to help the states and local school districts implement this Act so all our students receive a high quality education.