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 Home > News & Policies > Policies in Focus > Education
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Celebrating the second anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act, President George W. Bush visits with students at West View Elementary School in Knoxville, Tenn., Jan. 8, 2004. White House photo by Paul Morse.

President Bush is helping to expand opportunities for American students and workers. His proposals will help more Americans graduate from high school prepared for college or the workforce, access post-secondary education, and get the job training and skills to compete in a changing and dynamic economy and fill jobs in emerging industries.

Students who fall behind in reading have a greater chance of dropping out of high school altogether. Nationally, of 100 ninth-graders, only 68 will graduate from high school on time, only 38 will directly enter college, only 26 are still enrolled their sophomore year, and only 18 will end up graduating from college. The rates for minority students are even lower. Only one-third of America.s workforce has any post-secondary education, yet 60% of new jobs in the 21st century require post-secondary education.

The President has set a new national goal: to ensure that every high school student graduates and is ready for the workplace or college.

High School Education: Through No Child Left Behind, President Bush has already made the commitment to make a real difference in America.s schools. While No Child Left Behind will prepare a new generation of students with the knowledge they need to succeed, more can be done to improve our Nation's high schools to meet the needs of the 21st Century workforce. President Bush has proposed initiatives to ensure that every student graduates from high school prepared to enter college or the workforce with the skills needed to succeed, including:
  • Striving Readers: The Striving Readers Initiative will provide competitive grants to schools to give extra help to middle and high school students who fall behind in reading. The President's FY 2005 budget provides $100 million for the Striving Readers Initiative.
  • Mathematics and Science Partnership Program: Increased funding for the Mathematics and Science Partnership Program authorized in No Child Left Behind will provide extra help to middle and high school students who fall behind in math. The President's FY 2005 budget provides an additional $120 million for this Department of Education program.
  • Expanding AP for Low-Income Schools: Expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) programs in low-income schools will open the path to college for more Americans. The President's FY 2005 budget provides an increase of $28 million for the expansion of AP programs.
  • Math and Science Teachers: Creation of a $40 million incentive program will draw more math, science, and other professionals from the private sector to teach part-time in our high schools. The President's FY 2005 budget also includes $227 million in loan forgiveness for math, science, and special education teachers in low-income schools.
  • State Scholars: Increased funding for the State Scholars program, which requires 4 years of English, 3 years of math and science, and 3½ years of social studies, will help make it available nationwide. State Scholars encourages high school students to take more rigorous courses to prepare them for college and the workplace.
  • Secondary and Technical Education: The Perkins Vocational Education program will be redirected into the new Secondary and Technical Education program (Sec Tech), which requires that schools participating in the program offer 4 years of English, 3 years of math and science, and 3½ years of social studies as part of their vocational education curriculum, and will prepare students for careers and technical education fields.
  • High School Accountability: States will be called upon to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 12th graders to ensure that students graduating from high school have the skills they need to succeed in post-secondary education or careers.
Higher Education: Many of the fastest-growing occupations require strong math and science preparation and training beyond the high school level. Unfortunately, not enough high school students are receiving the skills they need to succeed in higher education and for the best jobs. Building off the high school initiatives, President Bush's higher education proposals will ensure college students are better prepared, provided greater access to college, and are more successful in completing a post-secondary education. His proposals include:
  • Enhanced Pell Grants and Help for Low-Income Students: The President's Fiscal Year 2005 budget proposes to increase funding for the Pell Grant program, which provides grants to low-income undergraduate students, by $4.1 billion, or 47%, since 2001. In addition, the number of Pell Grant recipients has risen by approximately one million since 2001, and the maximum Pell Grant has risen from $3,750 in 2001 to $4,050 in the President's FY 2005 budget. Larger Pell Grants, up to an additional $1,000 per year for the first two years, will be made available for students who prepare for college with demanding courses in high school - the State Scholars curriculum. This will give low-income high school students the preparation they need to be successful in college.
  • Presidential Math and Science Scholars Fund: The President proposes establishing a new public-private partnership to provide $100 million in grants to low-income students who study math or science beginning in 2006. Under this plan, approximately 20,000 low-income undergraduate students would receive up to $5,000 each to study math or science.
  • Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Since entering office, President Bush has also proposed to increase loan forgiveness from $5,000 to $17,500 for highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers who serve low-income communities.
  • Increased Student Financial Aid: The President's Fiscal Year 2005 budget would expand overall student financial aid available to $73.1 billion, an increase of $25.9 billion or 55% over the 2001 level. The number of recipients of grant, loan, and work-study assistance would grow by 426,000 to 10 million students and parents.
  • Making College More Affordable: In addition, President Bush's FY 2005 budget includes a package of student loan program proposals to make college more affordable for students and their families and to strengthen the financial stability of the student loan programs, such as reduced interest rates for student loans, increased student loan limits, and expanded repayment options.
  • National Service: Coupled with an increase in the overall number of AmeriCorps members, more American youth than ever before will have the opportunity to pay for their education through public service.
Better Training for Better Jobs: President Bush has proposed community-based job training grants and significant reforms to Federal worker training programs to double the number of workers receiving job training, to ensure those programs work better for America.s workers, and to close the skills gap so we fill every high-growth job with a well-trained American worker, including:
  • Less Red Tape and More Help for Workers: Under the President's plan, the Federal government would provide $4 billion in job training funds to the Nation's Governors with less Federal red tape and more flexibility;
  • Increased Flexibility and More Accountability: Under the President's plan, Governors would be given more flexibility to design their own workforce training programs but would be required to set clear goals and outcomes focused on the number of workers placed in jobs, the duration of job placement, and earnings on the job;
  • Innovation Training Accounts (ITAs): Under the President's plan, workers would have more choices about their job training by increasing the use of personal job training accounts, which would be called Innovation Training Accounts (ITAs), to pay for job training in high-growth job fields;
  • Jobs for the 21st Century Initiative: The President seeks to strengthen the role of community colleges in worker training by proposing $250 million in new competitive community-based job training grants that would be used for training in community and technical colleges; and
  • More Job Training: The President's proposed reforms, including community-based job training grants and ITAs, would provide training to an additional 200,000 people for high-growth jobs through programs run by community colleges, unions, and businesses.

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