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Bush Claims New Ed Partnership Means Full Disclosure

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 9 President Bush sandwiched a speedy promotion of his education policies today in between two Florida fund-raisers that reaped $3 million for his re-election campaign, bringing his harvest to more than $60 million.

At Hyde Park Elementary School in Jacksonville, Mr. Bush announced a new program that would allow parents to check the Web to compare test scores at public schools in their state. The program is a collaboration of the Department of Education and several private groups led by the Broad Foundation, an education organization in Los Angeles.

"We want full disclosure," Mr. Bush said in yet another trip to the state that determined his election in 2000. "We have nothing to hide in America when it comes to results."

The program, he added, would provide parents with essential data, and, "I can assure you that a parent who understands what's going on is going to be a less frustrated parent."

The program is to be paid for with $4.7 million from the Department of Education and an anticipated $50 million from private groups, including the Broad Foundation, which has committed nearly $26 million.

The White House expects that test scores and other data will be available free in all states by the end of next year on a No Child Left Behind Web site. The site is named for the education law, signed by Mr. Bush in January 2002, that mandated testing in Grades 3 through 8.

"The No Child Left Behind Act was the most dramatic reform in public education in a generation," he said.

Mr. Bush added, "For the first time, the federal government said, in return for money from the federal government, we are now going to ask the question, Can a child read and write, can a child add and subtract?"

Democrats who supported the legislation have intensified their attacks on Mr. Bush in recent weeks for what they call his broken promises in financing the act. The law called for up to $18 billion in spending for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, but the White House has asked for $12 billion, enraging Democrats like Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a crucial ally of Mr. Bush in pushing the bill through Congress.

"I'm amazed that President Bush has the chutzpah to go back to the state that gave him the White House and brag about his record on education," Mr. Kennedy said in a statement today.

Mr. Bush in any case spent more time today on fund-raising than on education, although by including a policy address, his 27-minute speech on the No Child Left Behind Act, the White House could bill taxpayers for part of the eight-hour Florida trip.

— Elisabeth Bumiller
For Bush, a Day for Education and Fund-Raisers
New York Times


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