WASHINGTON (AP) _ While Democrats at all levels fight to preserve a failing education system, Republican governors are taking bold steps to demand better results from students and teachers, Gov. Paul Cellucci of Massachusetts said Saturday.

Cellucci, in the weekly GOP radio address, credited his fellow governors for bucking the status quo and using high-stakes tests to hold students and schools accountable.

``Accountability is meaningless without the means to hold schools, students and teachers to high standards and high expectations,'' Cellucci said.

In Massachusetts, Cellucci said, new report cards will grade each school on how their students perform on statewide tests. Tough new standards programs are being carried out by Govs. Jim Gilmore of Virginia and Jeb Bush of Florida, he said. Other Republican governors are improving the nation's classrooms with charter schools and other forms of school choice, Cellucci said.

In Texas, he said, Gov. George W. Bush is ending social promotion and increasing test scores. Cellucci also praised Bush, the leading GOP presidential candidate, for his recent proposal to streamline federal programs and give states greater flexibility in using them to help their children.

Joining a list of Republican governors and lawmakers who have used the weekly radio address this year to tout the party's education policy, Cellucci made reference to GOP recommendations to loosen regulations in the nation's major education law, set for renewal this year.

``We must continue to promote the kind of change that is happening at the grassroots level by giving states the freedom to set standards,'' he said. ``Regrettably Democrats at the national and state level, such as Vice President Al Gore, are fighting to preserve the status quo and protect an education system that is failing our kids.''