July 7, 2001
RADIO ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT
TO THE NATION
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. My second working day as President, I sent to Congress the boldest plan to improve our public schools in a generation -- a plan to raise educational standards for every child and to require new accountability from every school. This reform gives our public schools greater resources and insists on proven results in return -- not just for some of our children, but for all of them.
The plan has now passed both Houses of Congress with strong margins and broad bipartisan support. We stand on the verge of dramatic improvements for America's public schools. We're increasing funding for public schools and insisting on results. We are maximizing local control to give governors, school boards and local people more say in their schools. And we are giving parents unprecedented new choices to help their children get a quality education.
Yet, all of this will happen only when Congress joins with me to take the final, crucial step of resolving differences between the House and the Senate versions and sending an education reform bill to my desk.
Across America, governors are waiting to work with their legislatures to implement reform. Local school boards are eager to put the new flexibility my plan offers into action. We are ready to provide teachers with the best research on the science of reading this very fall. We need to act quickly, because states and schools must make decisions on how to use their new flexibility and live up to their new responsibility.
We have come so far; we're almost there. And we must finish the job. Completing the work of education reform is a final exam for Congress before they go home in August for summer vacation and before America's children go back to school.
The differences between the education reform bills that passed with large majorities in both House and Senate are small. Both bills call for strong accountability. The Senate bill gives states more flexibility. The House bill is more fiscally responsible and focuses federal dollars where they will do the most good.
With prompt action this month, our public schools can begin to implement the first of the education reforms this fall, with guidance to help teachers use the latest research to teach all our children to read.
This is summer vacation for our children, and it can be a season of accomplishment for our nation's leaders. I urge the Congress to act swiftly on my education reform plan.
Thank you for listening.