Letter to the Editor

Funding generous

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dear Editor,

Jess Wolf's recent letter to the editor (4-19) contending that federal assistance to combat the dropout crisis "no longer exists" is -- there's no other way to say it -- simply misleading.

We know that dropouts often fall behind academically at a young age. So President Bush has proposed investing nearly $25 billion -- a 41 percent increase since 2001 -- in the No Child Left Behind Act to ensure that all young students (grades 3-8) can read and do math at grade level or better.

Total federal education funding for Nebraska has increased by nearly 62 percent.

Research also shows that a great many dropouts were not sufficiently challenged by their high school coursework. President Bush wants states to develop rigorous academic standards aligned with the needs of employers and colleges. He worked with Congress to pass Academic Competitiveness and National SMART Grants. 

They reward students for taking advanced and college-level math and science courses. The President has also called for more accurate ways to measure the dropout problem; the nation's Governors recently agreed to adopt a uniform graduation rate.

Finally, we must fix the "dropout factories," the 15 percent of schools that produce half of the nation's dropouts.

That's why President Bush has offered several proposals including School Improve-ment Grants to help states and communities turn these schools around. He has also proposed a major increase in the share of Title I grants going to high schools serving low-income students.

This is the record. It's a good and generous one. And your readers deserve to know it.


Mary Cohen,

U.S. Department of Education

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