"President Bush on Wednesday began his push to require high school students to take the math and reading tests now required of younger students under the No Child Left Behind law, the most ambitious item on the president's slate of second-term education proposals.
'Testing is important,' Bush said at J.E.B Stuart High School in this Washington suburb. 'Testing at high school levels will help us become more competitive as the years go by. Testing in high schools will make sure that our children are employable for the jobs of the 21st century. ...
Testing will make sure the diploma is not merely a sign of endurance, but the mark of a young person ready to succeed.'"
"In education, Bush's focus is on high schools and on expanding the No Child Left Behind Act that is designed to raise achievement among poor and minority children and penalize schools that don't make adequate yearly progress. It's part of his campaign pledge to improve high school standards and enhance the value of high school diplomas.
" 'We're not interested in mediocrity,' Bush said at the school, which was the lowest-performing among those in relatively prosperous Fairfax County, Va., in 1997, but met its academic goals under No Child Left Behind Act in the 2003-04 school year. 'We're interested in excellence so not one single child is left behind in our country,' he said.
"Bush wants to require states to test students annually in reading and math in grades three through 11. That's an expansion of the law he signed in 2002, which requires those tests in grades three through eight, and at least once during grades 10 to 12.
"The president also wants to give states $250 million to require that the 12th grade National Assessment of Educational Progress be administered in every state in reading and math every two years, just as it is in those subjects in grades four and eight. That would produce the first-ever state results for high school seniors on this national test, helping policy-makers evaluate their school standards.
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