George W. Bush: Education is key to opportunity, civil rights

Former President George W. Bush addresses a private gathering in the LBJ Library Atrium on April 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas. Pool, Getty Images

AUSTIN, Texas -- Former President George W. Bush has closed a three-day civil rights summit in Texas by saying education is the key for opportunity for poor and minority children and that he fears what he calls the `soft bigotry' of low expectations is returning 50 years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Bush signed the No Child Left Behind law in 2002, which expanded the federal government's role in public education.

He said Thursday the law helped close the achievement gap between white and minority students. He criticized efforts to weaken the law, saying the federal government has a role in demanding school accountability.

Bush said that while education in America is not still legally separate, it is not effectively equal.

The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library hosted the summit.

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