Good morning. This coming week, I will be highlighting measures to help America's
public schools carry out the education reforms we enacted in Washington earlier
this year. Our education reforms require accountability and results, and give
schools greater resources to achieve them.
Parents will have more information about the performance of their local schools
and more say in how their children are educated. The No Child Left Behind Act
is historic, ushering in a new era of accountability and education, but a lot
of hard work is still ahead.
The effectiveness of all education reform eventually comes down to a good teacher
in a classroom. And America's teachers are eager to put higher standards into
action and we must give them the tools to succeed. My administration has set
a great goal for our public schools: a quality teacher in every classroom.
We can achieve this in two ways: by attracting capable men and women into the
teaching profession, and providing teachers the training and support they deserve.
Over the next decade, America will need more than 2 million new teachers. The
budget I have signed into law for 2002 includes nearly $3 billion for teacher
training, recruiting and hiring, an increase of more than 35 percent over the
last year's budget.
We proposed to expand programs that recruit new math, science and special education
teachers by forgiving part of their college loans in exchange for a commitment
to teach in poor neighborhoods for at least five years. We should open up the
teaching profession, allowing people who have achieved in other fields -- including
veterans and parents with grown children -- to share their learning and experience.
And we must upgrade the teaching colleges, where many teachers receive their
training, the topic of a conference that will be hosted by our First Lady on
Today, only 36 percent of teachers themselves say they feel very well prepared
for their jobs, so we'll focus on teacher training efforts where the need is
greatest, in early childhood education, special education, math, science and
reading instruction. Through my administration's Reading First program, we are
placing a new emphasis on the most basic of skills and many of our teachers
will need training in the best and proven methods of reading instruction.
Because learning only takes place in an atmosphere of order, we want our teachers
to be in control of their classrooms. So we're protecting teachers from the
threat of frivolous lawsuits that often result from enforcing reasonable discipline.
Because committed teachers often buy school supplies for their students out
of their own pockets, the budget I have proposed includes a tax deduction to
cover some of those costs.
And because I strongly believe in local control of education, I'll implement
new flexibility for school districts. They'll be able to use federal funds where
the local need is greatest to reduce class sizes or improve teacher training
or to increase teacher pay.
In our new era of education reform we're asking a lot of our teachers, and we
owe them something in return. We must treat them as the professionals they are.
We must give them our respect and support. Teachers are among the most important
people in our children's lives and a good teacher can literally make a lifelong
I have confidence in the education reforms we enacted because I have confidence
in the teachers who will carry them out.