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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 2, 2002

President Meets with Early Childhood Education Experts
Pennsylvania State University, Delaware County
Media, Pennsylvania

President's Remarks

2:33 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Just finished a discussion about early childhood development.  I want to thank the experts and the teachers and the soon to be teachers, and those who are running Head Start programs for sharing your knowledge with Secretary Paige and me.

One thing is for certain, in order for all Americans to realize the American Dream, you've got to make sure every child has the necessary foundation to be good readers, good writers, good comprehenders  --  which means that this nation must do a better job of focusing our education strategy on early childhood development programs.

We've got to encourage parents to be good readers, good nurturers for their children.  We've got to work with Head Start centers to make sure that they've got the curriculum necessary to teach every child the building blocks for reading.  We've got to work with states to encourage states to develop a strategy that will help focus the time and attention and resources on the programs that will not only give children the basics for reading, but give children the essential nourishment so that they can become ready to compete in the public school system in America.

I assured our panelists here that while I'm spending a lot of time on making sure that America is safe and secure, that this initiative is a crucial initiative in an essential part of completing the education reform that Senator Kennedy and Congressman Boehner and most Republicans and Democrats worked on last year and I had the honor of signing.

So this is a great initiative and a wonderful group of Americans that are here to discuss this.  I'm real proud of your work.  I want to thank you for your care and compassion for our fellow citizens.  Thank you.

END                2:35 P.M. EST

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