Thursday, April 08, 2004

Here's someone who has got it right

The Kerry campaign should send Ted Kennedy to all sorts of places where the Democratic core gathers to give this speech time and time again. Let Ted prime the base of the party and allow Kerry to go for the center.

This is the entire text of Kennedy's speech back on April 5, and it trims the shrub to a twig. I particularly like his words on No Child Left Behind:
With this President Bush we quickly agreed to the two key principles that became the basis for the No Child Left Behind Act-- resources and reform. We would use increased resources to carry out reforms that would provide a better education for all of the nation’s students. Resources for reform. At a press conference on January 23rd, 2001, three days after the inauguration, President Bush had said “many of our schools, particularly low-income schools, will need help in the transition to higher standards.”

On February 27th, 2001, in an address to a Joint Session of Congress, the President told the nation that “Funding is important and so is reform. So we must tie funding to higher standards and accountability for results. Schools will be given a reasonable chance to improve and the support to do so.”

Over the course of several months of hearings, markups, debates, and negotiations, we agreed on a series of proven, bipartisan reforms: higher standards for all students, well-trained teachers, smaller class sizes, supplemental services after school, periodic tests to see that all students are making progress, and accountability for results. After long and hard negotiations, we also agreed on the specific level of resources necessary to carry out those reforms.

The country has seen that promise flagrantly broken. In 2002, less than a month after signing the bill into law with great fanfare, President Bush quietly proposed to cut funds for the No Child Left Behind Act by 90 million dollars.

His next education budget, in 2003, cut funding for the reforms by far more – 1.2 billion dollars. Believing his political ticket already had been adequately punched on education, President Bush tried to drop over half a million children from after-school programs.

He eliminated funds for training teachers in technology, for dropout prevention, for gifted and talented children, for school counselors, for rural education, and for additional assistance to small schools. He’s never even proposed a penny for the school improvement program to help low-performing schools turn around.

The most recent Bush education budget leaves over 4.6 million children behind – a number even the Administration cannot dispute.

At the very time the President was breaking his promise to the nation’s public school children, he also tried to divert over 4 billion dollars in education funds to private schools.

The President gave tax breaks to the top one percent of Americans that this year total five times the funds promised but never delivered for the No Child Left Behind Act.
I know that's a heck of a long quotation, but each and every fact is so vital to showing the Bush record of lies and failure to live up to promises.

An, you know, I'm beginning to like Ted again. It's been a long time.