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Bush praises Supreme Court voucher ruling

'That's just historic'

President Bush:
President Bush: "The vast majority -- by far -- of corporate America are aboveboard."  

CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) -- President Bush praised the United States Supreme Court's decision upholding Cleveland's controversial school voucher program during a visit to the city Monday.

Opponents say vouchers, which give parents tuition subsidies to attend parochial or private schools, erode already-troubled public school systems. But backers say they offer more educational choice.

"What's notable and important," Bush said of the 5-4 decision, "is that the court declared that our nation will not accept one education system for those who can afford to send their children to a school of their choice and for those who can't, and that's just as historic."

The president also referred to the accounting scandals involving WorldCom and Enron during his speech, emphasizing that the troubled corporations are in the minority.

In what President Bush hailed as a "landmark ruling," the Supreme Court Thursday ruled that a school voucher program in Cleveland  does not infringe upon the constitutional separation of church and state.

"The vast majority -- by far -- of corporate America are aboveboard and doing their job just the way you'd expect them to do, that they treat their investors, their shareholders and employees the way you'd want them to," he said. "And that's important for America to know. It's also important to know we're going after those who aren't and hold them accountable."

Bush said businesses' books better add up, saying he expects "responsibility at all levels in our society" or he will "fully enforce the law when people cheat on the balance sheets of corporate America."

Bush also pushed for more home-ownership, especially for minorities.

"We must use our resources to close that ownership gap by encouraging minority ownership of homes in America," he said, calling for simplifying contracts and an outreach program for first-time buyers.

Bush said it's in the interest of home builders and real estate agents to encourage such a program, Bush said, urging lenders to make capital available and calling for tax credits.

" We needs billions of more dollars available for those who want to realize the dream," Bush said.

Bush promoted so-called faith-based initiatives -- government programs operated by religious institutions.

"We should enable them to access federal money, because faith-based programs can change people's lives and America will be better off for it," said Bush.




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