President Bush sent Congress his request for $690 million worth of education revisions Wednesday, saying, "It's time we got down to the business of inventing new schools for a new world."
"Our challenge now is one of reinventing the classroom," Bush said in remarks at the Saturn School of Tomorrow, a magnet school that he used as an example of his call to "break the mold" through innovative education techniques.Bush has set six national goals for the nation's students - including increasing the high school graduation rate to 90 percent, making U.S. students first in the world in science and math, and making every adult literate - as part of his America 2000 strategy to revamp education.
"No one says it will be easy," he said, "but it's a battle for our future that we must and will win."
The White House sent to Capitol Hill Wednesday the legislative proposals to carry out Bush's plan, which includes $690 million in spending, much of it for $1 million in seed grants to open prototype "new American schools."
There would be one school in each of the 435 congressional districts by 1996, plus two more for each state.
Bush also is calling for nationwide standardized testing of students and a merit program of $100 million for 1992 that rewards schools that show progress in student academic performance.
At the Saturn School of Tomorrow, 220 students work at their own paces in individual programs they help design. The school has no grades, but the students are at an age level of grades 4 through 7.
Bush said the school may generate controversy. "But when we say break the mold, we've got to give communities the power to experiment, think anew, be daring," he added.
"It's time we got down to the business of inventing new schools for a new world," he said.
Bush's education plan has been generally well-received, but critics say more money is needed for long-term effectiveness. They also criticize his proposal to shift federal money to follow the individual student rather than the school, thus allowing parental choice in selection of schools.