Bush Campaign Lies

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #53: Bush is 'Doing His Duty' Funding 'No Child Left Behind' 

From a recent campaign speech at a Junior High School in Arkansas:

We're helping to pay for the tests. People say, well, it's an unfunded mandate to put accountability systems in place. No, the accountability systems are largely funded by the federal government.

Second, if my 2005 budget is enacted, federal spending on elementary and high school education will have increased by 49 percent since 2001. In Arkansas, that's an extra $112 million federal dollars for your public schools compared to 2001.

Nationwide, since 2001, we've already increased funding for low-income schools, under Title I -- that's the money for the poorest of students -- by 41 percent. That will rise to 52 percent if Congress approves my budget, which would mean an additional $37 million to help people in this state.

In other words, we're doing our duty.
This statement follows a classic Republican formula; say something that's factually accurate, and misapply it to make it seem that Bush is doing a good job.

I don't know whether the exact numbers Bush mentions in his speech are correct, but it is true that federal spending on education has increased dramatically during Bush's term of office. Unfortunately, it has not increased dramatically enough to meet the obligations Bush agreed to in the No Child Left Behind legislation. And in that respect, NCLB is an underfunded mandate, and Bush and the Republican-led Congress are not doing their duty.

According to FactCheck.org, federal funding for education has increased by an estimated $26.5 billion between FY '01 (Clinton's last budget) and FY '05. Unfortunately, after searching through the text of NCLB, it seems the net increase for FY '05 should be at least $33.15 billion for NCLB funding alone. This is why FactCheck.org and others report that NCLB is underfunded by roughly $7 billion in FY '05. And FY '05 is not an aberration. As ACORN reports, Bush has been systematically underfunding NCLB ever since he signed it into law.

10:27 PM