$26 Billion More for Public Education on the Way, Senators Head Back to Washington to deliver More for Schools

WILMINGTON, DE – Public schools will receive billions more in federal funding, parents will have more choices to rescue their children from failing schools and charter schools will get greater help to open when the Senate passes the “No Child Left Behind Act” this week. Senator Tom Carper said the broad bipartisan approach Congress took to create this bill – which nets Delaware $15 million in new federal education funding – is the right way to tackle problems like our current recession. “With the economy stalled, states and cities are finding it more difficult to pay for public education. This bill will be a dramatic step forward to solve many states’ funding crises,” said Carper in a press conference at the Wilmington Train Station before boarding a Metroliner to Washington, DC. “Why did it work? Because we worked together. We can do the same to create an economic stimulus plan that jumpstarts our economy.” In exchange for $26 billion dollars in increased federal aid, schools will be held more accountable and face strict new testing standards. An important part of the final bill is Carper’s “Charter Schools and Choice (Empowering Parents) Act,” which was the first legislation he introduced in the Senate. It provides $350 million to expand public school choice and encourage the growth of charter schools. The Charter Schools bill was the first piece of legislation Carper sponsored as a Senator and will soon be signed into law by President Bush. “Parents need an alternative if their children are trapped in failing schools. Because Republicans and Democrats worked together, soon more will have that option,” Carper said. “Last December, then-Governor Bush invited me to Texas to start building a bipartisan education bill. I told him that what we did in Delaware should be the model for the nation. With this bill, it largely is. Tough standards, greater accountability, public school choice and help for charter schools are Delaware hallmarks. Soon, they will be signed into law for the nation.” This bill provides more than $15 million in new money to help Delaware schools raise student achievement, including more than $5 million to provide extra help to students in high-poverty schools, more than $5 million to train and recruit high quality teachers and principles, and more than $2 million for reading. “The Senate will soon pass a plan that keeps our commitment to raising student achievement and makes Delaware’s education system a model for the nation,” Carper said. “Hopefully, we can use this bipartisanship as a model and put aside our differences. Working together we can pass an economic stimulus plan that keeps those students’ parents employed.”