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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 26, 2002

Mrs. Bush's Remarks for Transition to Teaching: New Teacher Project
As Delivered
Powell Elementary School
Washington, D.C.

Thank you very much, Brittany for that great introduction. You deserve a round of applause.

I'm pleased to be here at Powell Elementary School. This is the perfect place to celebrate an important new law — the No Child Left Behind Act — which will help an estimated 46.8 million public school children across America and the nearly 3 million educators who teach them.

I am proud that the No Child Left Behind Act was overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush.

The underlying principle of the law is simple and compelling: and that is, every child can learn, and no child will be left behind. I appreciate Senator Hutchison and Senator Clinton for their work on this legislation.

And, as a result of their leadership and work, we'll meet the national challenge of training and recruiting more teachers over the next decade.

With the Transition to Teaching part of the No Child Left Behind Act, $35 million in federal funding (for Fiscal Year 2002) is appropriated to recruit, hire and train teachers through efforts like the DC Teaching Fellows and President Bush's proposed budget continues this strong commitment for Fiscal Year 2003.

Minister Steven Timms, who administers school standards in the United Kingdom, is visiting from London. The Minister has a keen interest in programs like the New Teacher Project because he's leading a similar effort in the UK.

Teachers, thank you for being here. We owe so much to America's teachers. You have one of America's most important jobs because you shape our future through your love for children and passion for knowledge. You show your students that they're the most important people in the world, and that they can succeed.

Children and parents count on your energy and your imagination to make a difference every day — in every subject. You have our confidence and support.

DC Teaching Fellows Program has enjoyed great success over the past year. The program has already placed 100 new teachers in District schools, and applications have increased by 45 percent over the past year.

I commend Dr. Paul Vance, superintendent of DC Public schools, for his willingness to find — and fund — innovative ways to bring in more teachers to the schools that need them most.

Michelle Rhee has done a great job as the national director for The New Teacher Project; as has Kaya Henderson, director of DC teaching fellows. Michelle is at home expecting her first child later this month…but Kaya is here.

DC Teaching fellows also succeeds because of the people who decide to become teachers. They are caring and talented professionals. And they understand that, every child matters, and every child can learn.

In the months since the September 11 tragedy, I have traveled across the country, from New York to Pennsylvania; Chicago to Atlanta; Baton Rouge to Los Angeles. Wherever I go, people tell me they are reassessing their values…they want to consider public service because they want to make a difference in their communities.

My advice is to consider a career in teaching. I believe teaching is the greatest community service of all. It's challenging and difficult yet it's deeply rewarding. The education we provide our children helps shape the way they think and learn throughout their entire lives.

We have a great mission to ensure that our children's journey through school is as fulfilling and productive as possible. This is their birthright.

Thank you, Vice Principal Quander, for allowing us to visit today, thank you Senator Clinton, Senator Hutchison, and all of you for caring about America's children and their future.

# # #

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