The Push For Testing
Clinton gets back to work with appeal for national student testing plan
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sep. 8) -- Summer's over, and it's back to school for everyone, including President Bill Clinton.
Clinton, back from his Martha's Vineyard vacation, headed out to a Maryland school this morning to read to elementary-school children and, not incidentally, push his proposal for national student testing.
"This should be something that has nothing to do with party politics," said Clinton at the Four Seasons Elementary School in Gambrills. "I think every American -- Republicans, Democrats, independents -- should favor high standards. I think people from all backgrounds should want all of our children to learn at a high level."
By 1999, the president said, "I want to make sure we give a reading test to every fourth-grader in America so we will know if the children need help measuring up to national standards, we will know if a class needs help, we will know if a school needs help." (288K wav sound)
But while Clinton was away on vacation, testing opponents from left and right gathered their forces to fight his plan to have the federal government develop voluntary reading and math tests for states to administer.
Some congressional leaders are angry they weren't consulted. Some on the right say it is an unwarranted intrusion of the federal government into local affairs. Some on the left worry that the results from the suburbs will embarrass those in the cities. And some Hispanic activists are upset that while the math test would be given in Spanish, the reading test would be English-only.
"Every child in America, every single child in America, needs to be able to read well and needs to be able to read independently by at least the end of the third grade so that all this other learning can occur," said the president, who addressed his remarks directly to the children.
"That's what this whole national standards debate is about. We want everyone -- students, teachers, principals, schools, school boards -- to be held accountable and also to get the help and support they need if young people need more help in learning to read."
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N.Y.'s Giuliani Riding High
The Push For Testing
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