Left Behind

Students get short changed in public schools

At one of his trademark elementary school photo ops earlier this year, President Bush said his administration was pumping money into America's schools like never before. "The federal government is sending checks at record amounts," he announced. In fact, Bush's 2005 budget provides the smallest increase in education funding since 1996; it also sends 38 federal education programs to the chopping block, for a total of $1.4 billion in cuts (see sampling below). Even the president's signature education initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act, falls far short of the funding Bush promised for it--one reason why legislators in at least 17 states have endorsed bills protesting the law. --Dave Gilson

                    UNDERFUNDING    WHAT IT DOES

NO CHILD            $9.4 billion    Over the past four years, Bush has
LEFT BEHIND         (27 percent)    allocated $30 billion less than
                                    Congress authorized for authorized
                                    for the law, which requires
                                    increased testing and penalizes
                                    schools where scores don't
                                    improve. Programs for
                                    disadvantaged students take the
                                    hardest hit; the budget leaves
                                    them underfunded by $7.2 billion.

EVEN START          $247 million    Eliminates program that teaches
                                    parents and children in poor
                                    families to read; in 2002, Bush
                                    praised Even Start's work as
                                    "incredibly important."

DROPOUT             $5 million      Eliminates program to help at-risk
PREVENTION                          students. Under No Child Left
                                    Behind, schools are penalized if
                                    students drop out.

JAVITS GIFTED AND   $11 million     Eliminates program for gifted
TALENTED PROGRAM                    students who are minorities,
                                    disabled, or speak little English.

COMMUNITY           $10 million     Eliminates program that brings
TECHNOLOGY                          computers to places where kids
CENTERS                             don't have access to technology,
                                    such as housing projects.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE    $17 million     Eliminates program.

VOCATIONAL          $316 million    Cut 20 percent of federal funding
EDUCATION                           for job-training programs.

ARTS IN EDUCATION   $35 million     Eliminates program.