Magazine article State Legislatures

Will Our Leaders Pass the Back-to-School? Elected Officials Have to Provide the Support to Keep Education Reforms Working

Magazine article State Legislatures

Will Our Leaders Pass the Back-to-School? Elected Officials Have to Provide the Support to Keep Education Reforms Working

Article excerpt

You don't have to look far to find public schools where commonsense education reforms like class size reduction, proven reading programs, and higher standards are leading to increased achievement for students. But it's even easier to see that many successful education programs are now seriously threatened by the fiscal crisis gripping the nation and by the failure of many elected officials to stand strong for these reforms.

Across the country, a collision course has been set in motion. State education budgets are being squeezed ever tighter, jeopardizing reforms that are already making a difference. At the same time, school districts are striving to raise standards and to comply with the demands of the federal No Child Left Behind law. But neither the president nor the congressional majority has matched the worthwhile requirements of this important legislation with the federal support necessary for schools and students to achieve its goals.

Standing up for what's right

Some state leaders, determined to keep their states' schools on track, have taken a principled stand against shortsighted cuts to education.

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, for example, has supported education despite lean times. While other states have been laying off teachers and trimming or eliminating education programs, North Carolina expanded prekindergarten, added more grades to its class size reduction program, increased teacher salaries, and worked to keep higher education affordable. …

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