George W. Bush's promise to wipe out the achievement gap between rich and poor students was perhaps the most important theme of his presidential campaign. The fact that he followed through with an important new education bill despite the distractions of Sept. 11 is a tribute to both the president and his legislative allies. But the effort to rescue millions of disadvantaged children from failing schools can succeed only if Mr. Bush places the full weight of his office behind this new law.
'Many Congressional Republicans were reluctant to endorse a bill that gave the federal government such a large role in local education. Now that it has become law, the president may have to force some states to comply. That will mean creating enemies among Republicans and Democrats alike.'
Ñ An editorial in The New York Times
urging President Bush to stay the course
on his recently passed education bill
The latest numbers are in, and Oregon legislators now must confront the issue they've been dreading for months: a $720 million revenue shortfall.
'But before the public assumes that drastic cutbacks to schools and other services are inevitable, they ought to put the most recent economic forecast into context. The 2001 Legislature built the budget for the 2001-03 biennium around rosier economic numbers being presented last spring and summer. Everyone had assumed that those projections would be revised downward when the economy slowed. Since Sept. 11, the slowdown has become a recession, and revenue estimates have tumbled.
'Even with the newest numbers, however, the budget cutbacks don't have to be as dire as they perhaps have been portrayed. Yes, $720 million is a huge pile of cash, but it amounts to 6 percent of the general fund. And if legislators and the governor keep their priorities clear, they can protect the vital programs Ñ including schools Ñ from the worst of reductions.'
Ñ An editorial in the West Linn Tidings
imploring the Oregon Legislature to keep
its revenue priorities clear in spite of
the $720 million revenue shortfall