No Child Left Behind, High-quality, high school initiatives

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Today’s Presidential Action

Today, President Bush highlighted the need to do more to prepare our high school students for the future. His education proposals would ensure that every high school student graduates with the skills needed to succeed in college and in a globally competitive workforce.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2006 budget will provide $1.5 billion in funding for a new High School Initiative to help states hold high schools accountable for teaching all students and to provide effective and timely intervention for those students who are not learning at grade level. This initiative includes requirements for state assessments in high school to ensure that diplomas are truly meaningful.

The President’s plan for high schools will help to ensure excellence for every student.

President Bush will propose to increase funding for his Striving Readers program to $200 million annually, and will propose $269 million for the Mathematics and Science Partnership program.

To reward teachers who demonstrate success in preparing their students through increases in student achievement and teach in low-income schools, he will propose a $500 million incentive fund for states and school districts.

The President’s support for Advanced Placement programs will not only encourage the growth of AP and IB courses, but also serve as a mechanism for upgrading the entire high school curriculum for all students. President Bush will also propose the State Scholars Initiative for states to develop and promote strong courses of study to increase student achievement.

Background on Today’s Presidential Action

President Bush’s plan to reform our Nation’s elementary and secondary schools to ensure that all children are proficient in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year was passed in Congress with bipartisan majorities. The President signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) so that testing, accountability, and high standards will join with record new funding to help ensure educational excellence for every child. The early grades are seeing progress across America, but we must finish the job with American high schools.

According to the latest results from the Program for International Student Assessment, America's 15-year-olds performed below the international average in mathematics literacy and problem-solving, placing 27th out of 39 countries. These disappointing results should be a call to action so that our graduates are prepared for a lifetime of achievement and active participation in our country. To build on America’s education reforms, the President’s high school initiatives will increase the quality of secondary education and ensure that every student graduates from high school prepared to enter college or the workforce with the skills to succeed.

The President’s New High School Initiative: High School Intervention and State Assessments

The President’s new High School Initiative will provide $1.5 billion in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 budget. $1.2 billion will be used for High School Intervention to help states hold high schools accountable for teaching all students and to provide effective interventions for those students who are not learning at grade level. In return for a commitment to improve academic achievement and graduation rates for secondary school students, states will receive the flexibility to choose which programs will be most effective in serving the needs of their high school students. And $250 million will be used for State Assessments to ensure that high school diplomas are truly meaningful with required state assessments in high school.

To make the taxpayer dollar work smarter, and still provide funding for states under the High School Initiative, programs with a narrow focus and programs that have not proven effective in improving our secondary students’ academic achievement will be consolidated.

Increasing Reading Skills for America’s Striving Readers

Students who fall behind in reading have a greater chance of dropping out of high school altogether. The President’s Striving Readers initiative provides a focus on improving the reading skills of high school students who read below grade level. This Presidential initiative, first funded in 2005, builds on the No Child Left Behind elementary school reading initiatives. The President’s FY 2006 budget will provide $200 million, an increase of $175 million, eight times the 2005 level to improve the reading skills of these high school students.

Enhancing Mathematics and Science Achievement

To accelerate mathematics and science achievement for our high school graduates, the President will again propose a total of $269 million in the FY 2006 budget, for the Mathematics and Science Partnership program authorized in the No Child Left Behind Act. $120 million will be dedicated to support projects to accelerate the mathematics achievement of all secondary students, and especially low-achieving students. The program works to ensure that states and school districts implement professional development projects for mathematics teachers that are strongly grounded in research, and that help mathematics teachers strengthen their skills.

The President also supports partnerships between school districts and public-private institutions to create an Adjunct Teacher Corps, with opportunities for professionals to teach middle and high school courses in the core academic subjects, particularly in mathematics and science. Many school districts are in need of personnel to strengthen instruction in middle and high schools in the core academic subjects, especially mathematics and science.

Accelerating Student Achievement with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

President Bush will propose $52 million in the FY 2006 budget for the Advanced Placement program authorized in the No Child Left Behind Act – an increase of 73%. This funding will help ensure that teachers in low-income schools are well-trained to teach Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. The President’s support for Advanced Placement programs will not only encourage the growth of AP and IB courses, but also serve as a mechanism for upgrading the entire high school curriculum.

Promoting Scholastic Achievement with State Scholars

President Bush will propose $45 million to encourage students to take more rigorous high school courses. Under the President’s State Scholars Initiative, 12 states have already received assistance to create the State Scholars program which requires high school students to take at least three years of math and science, three and one-half years of social studies, four years of English, and two years of foreign language courses.

In addition, low-income high school students will be eligible for up to $1,000 in additional Pell Grant aid for the first two years of college if they complete the State Scholars curriculum.

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