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Renew, strengthen No Child Act -- Bush

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush Tuesday called for reauthorizing and strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act, which is due to expire this year.

In his State of the Union address, Bush said the measure has raised student achievement scores and provided a basis for hold schools accountable.

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"Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act. ... And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap," Bush said.

"Now the task is to build on this success, without watering down standards ... without taking control from local communities ... and without backsliding and calling it reform ... And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future and our country is more competitive, by strengthening math and science skills."

Bush said flexibility needs to be added to the law to enable struggling schools to meet goals and give parents more options for spurring reform. Bush called for a series of scholarships, grants and transfer options, as well as an increase in the number of charter schools and improved teacher training.

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