Senate Passes Education Bill 15 Million More for DE

WILMINGTON, DE – Senator Tom Carper announced that Delaware’s education reform efforts are now the model for the nation with the Senate’s passage today of the “No Child Left Behind Act.” The State of Delaware will receive an additional $15 million dollars per year for seven years, parents will have more choices to rescue their children from failing schools, and schools will be given greater flexibility to use these resources. In exchange, the nation’s public schools now face strict accountability and must show real improvement. “With the passage of this landmark legislation, Delaware ‘s bipartisan work to raise student achievement has become the model for education reform nationwide,” 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 now 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.” 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 authorizes $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. This worked because we worked together,” Carper said. “We are asking schools do to more for their students, but we are giving them more help to do it. With the economy stalled, states and cities are finding it more difficult to pay for public education. This bill will be a real step forward for them.” 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 passed 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 will put our nation’s economy back on track.”