WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's support of an education bill last year amounts to a hollow promise because his budget fails to provide enough money to fund it, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said Saturday.
In the weekly Democratic radio address, Kennedy, D-Mass., said Bush actually cuts education significantly in his fiscal 2003 spending plan.
"With the president's cuts in education, 18,000 fewer teachers will be trained next year," said Kennedy. "With the president's cuts in education, 33,000 children will be denied after-school programs that keep kids off the streets. With the president's cuts in education, 6 million needy children will be left behind."
Late last year, Bush and lawmakers from both parties crafted an education bill that drew widespread bipartisan support.
The measure gives states and school districts more freedom over how they spend federal dollars, but requires them to raise student achievement, monitor teacher quality and close the gap between poor and middle-class students and white and minority students.
Bush has said his budget is sufficient to fund the most important parts of the bill.
Kennedy, chairman of the Senate education committee, also criticized Bush's recent proposal to increase the Head Start early education program by $130 million. He said that increase isn't enough to keep up with increased living costs for teachers.
"The president called for more help for children in their early years, so they can start school ready to learn," Kennedy said. "But once again, the president fails to provide parents and child care workers and preschool teachers with the resources to meet this important new challenge."
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