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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 13, 2007
President Bush Meets with Parochial Education Leaders and Parents
1:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Spellings and I have just had the privilege of talking to some of our country's leading educational entrepreneurs. We had the privilege of talking to parents whose lives have been positively affected by our Catholic school system. One of the great assets in the United States is the Catholic schools, which oftentimes educate the so-called hard to educate -- and they do so in such a spectacular way.
The question is how do we make sure that this important asset is sustainable? How do we make sure that our Catholic schools meet the needs of parents, like Patricia, meet the expectations of some of our educational leaders, like Ben. And one way is for the federal government to provide opportunity scholarships for parents, so that they can redeem that scholarship at a school of their choice.
We've got such a program like that here in Washington, D.C. It's been a very successful program, and Congress needs to make sure it gets fully funded. If any congressman doubts the utility of a program, all they've got to do is speak to Wendy Cunningham, whose daughter takes advantage of this special funding for people, that enables her to say "My school isn't meeting the needs, therefore I'd like to make another choice." A parental choice is a very important part of educational excellence. And one way to make sure that that's the case is not only to fully fund the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, but to provide these kinds of scholarships for school systems outside of Washington.
For example, we just heard from Margaret Dames who has got a marvelous school program in Bridgeport, Connecticut. And it seems like it makes sense to me for a parent in Bridgeport to be able to have the same kind of opportunity that a parent here in Washington, D.C. has. Congress needs to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, as well. We want all schools to be excellent. We want every school, public or parochial, to meet expectations and to give our children the skill sets necessary to realize the great promise of the country.
One thing is for certain, if you're interested in educational excellence, you can look at the Catholic schools in the United States of America, because they provide it -- and for that, this country is very grateful.
Thank you all for coming, appreciate your time.