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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-08-03 08:38 PM
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ABC Nightline tonight -- No child left behind
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Nightline Daily E-Mail
October 8, 2003


TONIGHT'S SUBJECT: President Bush initiated a bold plan to reform public education. But then came the war on terrorism and the economic slump. Now, public education is suffering, from kindergarten through college. States are slashing budgets, teachers are being laid off, class sizes are swelling and the promise of public education is cracking.

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It's happening to some degree or another in school districts from Massachusetts to California. State budgets are shrinking and as a result, so are local public school budgets. Arts and music programs cancelled. Class size doubled. Teachers laid off. Special needs programs cancelled. Facilities crumbling. Did you hear about the school principal in Georgia who broke her own school's windows to force the district to replace the windows she had repeatedly reported were badly in need of repair? People are getting desperate.

President Bush campaigned that he would be the 'education president.' And his 'No Child Left Behind' legislation was bold, even earning the support an unlikely ally in Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy. But Kennedy and several other former supporters have since soured on the plan, which demands much from the schools and which critics say provides little to no funding to help them meet those goals.

Tonight ABC's Judy Muller offers a report card on the nation's public school system. First she visits Arlington, Massachusetts, a working class bedroom community outside of Boston. The state budget cuts have hit this area hard, forcing the community to hold bake sales and fairs to raise money to pay teachers. Parents even are being asked to pay tuition to keep their children attending all-day kindergarten in this public school system.

But the problems are not limited to K-12. Public universities are suffering too. Tuitions at several top public universities have increased as much as 30 percent this year alone. Faculties are being cut, forcing lecture classes to swell to the neighborhood of 500 students, making real learning that much tougher. Some students can't even finish their degrees in four years because the required classes are oversubscribed or unavailable. Judy Muller reports from the University of Texas at Austin, the largest public university in the country.

Public education is one of the great promises of this country. But are we keeping that promise?

We hope you'll join us.

Sara Just and the Nightline Staff
Nightline Offices
Washington, D.C.
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