April 3rd, 2007 06:27 EST
Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind for Arizona's Children
MESA, ARIZONA - Continuing the national dialogue on the need to reauthorize President Bush's landmark No Child Left Behind Act this year, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today traveled to Mesa, Arizona, to tout five years of student progress under the law and discuss ways it can be expanded and improved to help all American children learn and succeed. Visiting Mesa Arts Academy, a charter school operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley, Secretary Spellings emphasized the significant achievement made by students at this school and throughout Arizona.
Addressing a school assembly, Secretary Spellings congratulated faculty, students and parents of Mesa Arts Academy for tremendous progress, evidenced by Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) annual assessment. According to these results, since 2002 the percentage of 3rd graders proficient in reading has increased 28 points to 78percent; the percentage of 5th graders proficient in math has increased 35 points to 85percent; and, the percentage of 8th graders proficient in math has increased from 10percent to 100percent. Additionally, Secretary Spellings cited results from The Nation's Report Card indicating that Arizona fourth graders and eighth graders achieved their highest math scores in the test's history, and that the percentage of Arizona fourth graders able to tackle challenging reading rose to 24 percent.
"All of America's children - regardless of race, income or zip code - deserve a good education, and that is what No Child Left Behind is all about. Schools like Mesa Arts Academy demonstrate every day that No Child Left Behind is working and that every student can succeed," Secretary Spellings said. "I'm proud to be visiting a school that is leading the way for our children and applaud Mesa's educators for their hard work and dedication to achieving results for students."
Secretary Spellings also discussed new proposals President Bush put forth in urging Congress to reauthorize No Child Left Behind this year, including provisions that would enhance the availability and performance of charter schools. To give more students the chance to attend a successful charter school, the President also recommended that districts be permitted to lift arbitrary limits on the number of charters available within a state. Moreover, he has pledged to support all viable charter applications that can improve outcomes for students and provide greater flexibility in charter schools' use of grant funds.
Also while in Arizona, Secretary Spellings will join members of the Arizona Business Education Coalition in Phoenix for a discussion of ways the business community can continue to make a positive difference in the success of Arizona's education system. While our nation has experienced promising gains in student achievement since No Child Left Behind was enacted, more work must be done to prepare our nation's high school students for college and the workforce such as focusing new resources on STEM fields and increased rigor. America's businesses and industries depend upon our schools to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the workplace, and Secretary Spellings is calling on business leaders throughout the country to engage in the critical effort to reauthorize No Child Left Behind.
"The Arizona business community is an important partner in our efforts to provide a good education for every student and to strengthen this nation with the talented workforce it needs to continue its global leadership. They are aware of the competition our nation faces in today's knowledge-based, global economy, recognizing that the stakes are high and America can't afford to leave any of our children behind," Secretary Spellings said. "Our nation's business community continues to be critical to our efforts of ensuring excellence in education under No Child Left Behind and giving our children the tools they need to succeed."
Contact: Rebecca Neale