Senator Carper Calls on President Bush to Invest in Education Reform

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Tom Carper joined members of the Senate New Democrat Coalition today in renewing the call for increased investment in public education. Standing alongside Senators Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh and others, Carper praised President Bush’s public acceptance of their goals of accountability, innovation and high standards but questioned whether Bush’s education proposal provides the federal funding necessary to live up to the promise of raising student achievement. “We are gratified that the Bush administration has accepted many of our reform proposals and that he has promised to work with us to achieve these goals. However, judging by the money the President is currently recommending be appropriated to reforms like testing, we are beginning to question whether this is a real commitment. These reforms cost money,” Carper said. “If we are going to take responsibility to raise student achievement and rescue children from failing schools, we must take responsibility to pay for our reforms.” Carper compared the struggle to improve public school education with his successful overhaul of the welfare system in Delaware. In each case, the government needed to combine tough, stringent standards with compassionate action. Strict student testing standards, Carper said, must be combined with the support of additional funding, or the call for reform may become a hollow promise. “Our intent is to send a strong signal to the new administration that we can avoid a divisive and destructive fight without abandoning the propositions central to our shared ideal that no child should be left trapped in a failing school,” Carper said. “I have seen this model of high standards, greater competition and choice, and more flexibility in return for tougher accountability work in my state of Delaware. And our success in Delaware can help shape this debate”