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Bush's veto could gut critical school programs

WASHINGTON— President George W. Bush’s veto of an education spending bill would wipe out 45 federal education programs and cripple others, leaving some of the neediest students without essential programs they need to succeed in school. The National Education Association called the threat a politically-motivated attack against children who have repeatedly been shortchanged by this administration and urged lawmakers to stand their ground.
 
“This administration wants to nickel-and-dime education, and if the president can’t get his way he’s threatening to completely pull the plug,” said NEA President Reg Weaver. “Congress has done the right thing by keeping the interests of students, not the political interests of the president, front and center. Lawmakers must override the veto so schools get the basic resources they need.”

MTA President Anne Wass expressed outrage at the president’s latest veto.

“This administration shows no regard for public schools and the students who attend them,” Wass said. “I know that the members of our state’s congressional delegation will stand up and fight for our public schools and override President Bush’s veto.”
 
Bush’s proposed budget is $4.5 billion less than the amount a strong bipartisan majority in Congress has deemed necessary to invest in public schools. Nationally, Bush wants to eliminate 49 federal education programs.  Others would be severely affected, such as the early childhood education program Head Start, which would be reduced by $300 million.  That move would have a harsh impact on more than 30,000 pre-school children. 
 
Bush’s plan also would slash $800 million that Congress has allocated for special education for children with disabilities and eliminate half of the funding for career and technical education programs. Lawmakers want to maintain these programs and give students and educators the resources they need, but the president has stubbornly refused to work with Congress.
 
Unfortunately, the veto threat continues a string of attacks by the administration on schools and students. Last month, the president vetoed the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a move that will leave millions of children without the medical attention they need to feel and do their best in school. 
 
“Cutting these programs would literally leave millions of children behind,” Weaver said. “Congress is in line with the country’s priorities regarding education and children’s health care. The president’s veto just shows what we have known for years: This administration is not serious about education.”