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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
April 3, 2001

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Senate Spouses Luncheon
U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C.

Thank you very much, and thank you for the lovely gift, and the great lunch. I appreciate being able to spend some time with you; this is a busy week for a lot of us....

I just came from the Northeast Branch Library this morning...I joined them for their National Library Week celebration. While I was there, I signed up for my District library card and read to a group of elementary school children. That was a lot of fun. Baseball All-Star Mike Bordick was there reading to children, too — he’s the shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, of course.

It’s no secret my husband loves baseball. If he had it his way, his baseball collection would be in our dining room...and there’d be a game on the South Lawn once a month.

Believe it or not, he asked me to entertain the idea.

I drew the line at putting in a pitching mound, but I did finally agree to let him host a children’s T-ball game once a long as they play out of range of the windows.

The President is thrilled. You might have heard that he pitched the T-ball idea during the Baseball Hall of Fame dinner we had last week. He can’t wait to see local teams carrying on the great American tradition in the back yard.

To continue on the subject of children, President Bush has a priority for America, and that’s education reform. I know that all of you share that priority in your home states as well.

I am proud to be a part of President Bush’s effort to ensure that no child is left behind. Recently I announced an education initiative called Ready to Read, Ready to Learn. This initiative is based on three priorities:

First, I want to encourage more Americans to become teachers by supporting national projects like Teach For America, the New Teacher Project, and Troops to Teachers. I recently came back from California where I talked to men and women who are about to retire from the military, and I urged them to consider serving our country as teachers.

And, this October I intend to practice what I preach and teach in a classroom during Teach for America week.

I will also spotlight Head Start and other pre-school programs that have strong pre-reading and vocabulary activities for children. I look forward to working with pre-school programs to create richer learning experiences for more children around the country.

Finally, I’ll do all that I can to talk to Americans about the most up-to-date science and research on child development, learning, reading and appropriate cognitive activities that will help prepare children for success in school, and in life.

We must do more than say that all children can succeed in school. We must believe it. And we must make it happen.

Let me emphasize that President Bush and I firmly believe in the power of local control. You are the experts on what’s best for your own states. You know what your schoolchildren need; you know the programs that work; and you know what best can be done. But as a nation, we need results, and we need the evidence that shows whether our children are learning.

I hope you will help us carry out a mission of better education in each of your states. With your leadership and dedication, I am confident that no child will be left behind. Thank you for having me here today. Have a great afternoon.

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