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Inside Politics

Bush praises public education law
George W. Bush
Radio address

(CNN) -- President Bush on Saturday praised the No Child Left Behind Act as "a bipartisan law that is challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations in public education."

In a weekly radio address coinciding with the annual return to school for America's children, Bush promised to increase school funding in next year's budget to $37 billion, "a 49 percent increase since 2001."

He also used his time to sound an oft-heard Republican mantra for education -- accountability.

"We are leaving behind the broken system that shuffled children from grade to grade, even when they were not learning the basics," he said.

"We're requiring regular testing, providing extra help for children falling behind. We're giving information and options to parents. We are holding schools accountable for the progress of every child."

Bush singled out B. Jones Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina, as a success story wrought by the new legislation.

Noting that Jones did not meet federal standards before the No Child Left Behind law was passed, Bush said that local leaders accepted a $200,000 federal grant and turned the school around.

"This past school year, their efforts paid off. Jones met its target for yearly progress."

Bush said he wants to see that kind of progress around the nation and promised to help struggling high school students by expanding advanced placement programs at struggling schools.

"We will ensure that high schools offer a rigorous curriculum in English, math, science and social studies, so we can be certain a high school diploma means something," Bush said.

"The No Child Left Behind Act is bringing progress and hope to America's students, parents,and educators. We are gaining momentum, and we will not turn back."

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