Bill Clinton Blames Kennedy for No Child Left Behind Flaws

By Jennifer Parker

Feb 1, 2008 4:39pm

ABC News’ Sarah Amos and Jennifer Parker Report: While stumping for his wife at an Arkansas high school Friday, former President Bill Clinton seemed to blame Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.,  along with President Bush for the failure of the No Child Left Behind Act to live up to its promises.

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"The President made a deal with Senator Kennedy and neither one of them meant to mess it up," Bill Clinton told a crowd of about 400 teachers and students in Texarkana.

"The deal was supposed to be, we will give the schools more money and get rid of two programs that Bill Clinton actually started — hiring more teachers in the early grades which actually does help performance and help schools with construction needs if they are overcrowded," he said.

"And we will not put anymore money in the after school programs, which does help, and we will raise school performance by telling people their money depends on how their kids do on tests and we are going to give five tests five years in a row, and we will cut the states a check based on how they are doing. And then the law kind of winks at the state of Arkansas and says, ‘don’t worry about it too much because you get to pick the test and the passing score.’ Now think about that you get the worst of all worlds," Clinton said. 

Clinton mentioned Kennedy’s association with the No Child Left Behind Act – a federal education law unpopular with public school teachers — in the same week that the liberal icon passed over his wife to endorse her Democratic rival — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

The former president mentioned Kennedy yesterday while explaining his wife’s pledge to radically overhaul the education law.

"I want you to think about this, and I have to say, this was a train wreck that was not intended. No Child Left Behind was supported by George Bush and Senator Ted Kennedy and everybody in between. Why? Because they didn’t talk to enough teachers before they did that," Clinton said yesterday at Arizona State University, according to the Associated Press.

But today marks the first time the former president seemed to blame Kennedy for the bill.

In 2001, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, but has since said it was mismanaged and should be replaced.

"I believe that every child should be taught by a qualified teacher and that schools should be accountable to the parents of the children they serve. That is why I supported the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and continue to believe in the principles behind the landmark law. When the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) was enacted, I viewed it as a historic promise between the federal government and educators — schools would be held to higher standards than ever before and the government would make a record investment in those schools to ensure that they would be able to meet the new expectations confronting them," reads a statement from Hillary Clinton on her senate office website.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus