Federal education package has promise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Clear expectations and accountability are at the heart of the education overhaul packaged approved Tuesday by Congress.

The sweeping reforms were a cornerstone of President Bush’s campaign, and they have received bipartisan support from Congress. Now, for the first time, federal education funding will be tied to performance for school districts. That means if Johnny and Sally can’t read, if they don’t meet set levels for math proficiency, the districts will be forced to answer to parents who can request that part of the district’s federal funding be used to provide tutoring or even transportation to other districts.

The accountability is key to the program’s success.

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By tying federal funds to performance, the government is focusing on the results — not simply the activity. And, ultimately, what we all seek is results.

We want our children to have equal opportunities to learn; we want them to have tools, resources and teachers who can help them learn; we want them to be able to compete, even excel, in our global marketplace. We want them to be able to read and write well; to perform needed math problems; even to communicate clearly and comfortably.

And we want our public schools to use our federal tax dollars efficiently and effectively as they work toward that same mission.

That’s why we think this new education package ­ one tied to expectations and accountability ­ is filled with exciting opportunities for change and improvement in America’s schools.


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