President signs education reform into law

STAFF REPORTS

   President Bush signed the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" into law yesterday. The legislation is especially promising for Tennessee schools. The act will increase federal spending for Tennessee's public schools by more than 28 percent.
   Benefits will touch an estimated 916,202 Tennessee school children, and 56,971 teachers in 1,554 public schools statewide. The increases in federal education funding are an attempt to raise the achievement level of lower income students.
   * The reform increases Title I funding more than $174.2 million, a 22 percent increase, to improve the quality of education for disadvantaged children in Tennessee.
   * Every classroom in Tennessee will be run by a highly qualified teacher that the act ensures by providing $47.4 million in training funds.
   * An estimated $7.3 million will be spent to ensure safe and drug-free schools in Tennessee.
   * $4.4 million will be spent in after school programs for at risk children.
   * $6.9 million will be used to help school districts assess children's' learning and retention, as well as schools' effectiveness in teaching material.
   * There will be a $11.8 million increase in Pell Grant funding to ensure greater access to college education for Tennessee students with disadvantage backgrounds.
   The education reform is designed to hold schools more accountable for results, give local school districts more flexibility and control, offer more choices to parents, and will emphasize teaching methods that are more effective.