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For Immediate Release
Office of Mrs. Bush
January 2, 2002

Remarks by Mrs. Bush for KIPP Academy
January 10, 2002

I am proud to spotlight KIPP's success so that others might see and learn from your great example, and I'm happy to see so many people here supporting the children who attend this academy. I wish the rest of the country could see you, too.because you're proof that Americans do care about what goes on in the classroom.

In 1997, when my husband was Governor of Texas, he first learned about KIPP and the students not because of who they were, but rather because of what they were accomplishing - the KIPP students' academic progress caught statewide attention and earned much deserved recognition.

KIPP is a great example of how we can improve our nation's public schools. These children and their parents are willing to accept the challenge to obtain a better education, and they know, as they often say, that "there are no short-cuts". KIPP students know that education is the key to a better future, and they demonstrate the commitment to excellence - which is their motto - in many ways.

Teachers, students and parents sign commitment forms that hold all accountable for the rigorous academic and character-building requirements at the academy. And KIPP sets high standards to match the high hopes that parents have for their children. The academy's record-high passing scores on the TAAS test this year show that in America, every child can succeed in school when parents and teachers have the passion, the care, and the commitment to help children achieve.

The students' level of success, once considered an exception to the rule, is now the rule itself.

President Bush and I believe that when you give people local control, you give them one of the most powerful tools to succeed: freedom - freedom to soar, to innovate, to dream up fresh ideas and to implement them in ways that truly help our children. The President wants our educators and our education system to have greater flexibility and support to do their job. so that every child is educated and no child is left behind.

People sometimes make excuses for why our children don't succeed. Some use family situations, economic status, language backgrounds or learning difficulties to rationalize a child's lack of achievement. The President calls this "the soft bigotry of low expectations".

We must set our sights higher than that. Only through high expectations will our children excel in school and in life.

The children who attend this academy have a tremendous amount of promise. Thank you for believing in every child who walks through the doors of the KIPP Academy, where that promise can be realized.

Your presence here today shows that there is a better way for teaching children. I hope you will continue to be creative, innovative, hands-on participants in the educational process. The future of Texas - and our nation -- is in your hands.

And now I'm pleased to introduce to you some extraordinary students who will tell you in their own words what the KIPP Academy means to them. Thank you.

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