More standardized tests and newly hired teachers are only a tiny portion of the $26 billion education reform bill that President Bush signed into law this week with bipartisan support.

The wide-reaching plan scrutinizes states more closely in reporting and organizing students” improvements on standardized test by ethnic group. Following students” progress is one aspect of the bill”s goal “to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind.”

“In general, the Bush administration would like to improve the quality of teaching preparation and remove a lot of the regulations that are now preventing teacher education,” School of Education Dean Karen Wixson said. “These two goals are at odds with one another.”

Wixson added that the School of Education would be affected by the Bush administration”s emphasis on preparation in the bill because training for University Education students future teachers could change.

“The existing teacher education program can”t move people through the pipeline quickly enough,” Wixson said.

The new law fixes this problem by funding states to hire more educators.

In the next seven years, the bill plans to raise educational standards for high school students, specifically those from low-income households and minority families. Many in education cannot make estimates about the effects of the bill so early after its approval.

“Any time K-12 education is improved, it continues to improve the outcome for students seeking university and community colleges,” said Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government relations.

Whether the 1,100-page bill, modeled after Bush”s Texas education reform bill, will correct educational problems or only appear to is unclear.

“There is much disagreement in Texas,” said Cecil Miskel, a professor in the School of Education. “State tests showed substantial changes in the students” scores. National tests don”t show such a strong change.”

Miskel added that the efficacy of the Texas reforms is still being observed.

Receiving $900 million this fiscal year, the Reading First program is designed to ensure that all students from kindergarten to third grade can read at grade level by the end of third grade.

“The state of Michigan should be able to get a little over $28 million,” Miskel said about Reading First. Miskel added that the money would fund the training of extra teachers.

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