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Text: Bush Speaks on Education

Wednesday, January 12, 2005; 12:21 PM

Following is the full text of President Bush's speech on education delivered Wednesday in Falls Church, Va.

BUSH: Thanks for the warm welcome.

Dr. Riddile, thank you for inviting me and Laura to come to your great school.

He said, We're not very far from the White House.

I said, Fine, I'll just drive over. It turns out, I didn't see any traffic.


I want to thank all the students who are here today. Thank you for coming to let an old guy speak to you.

Dr. Riddile said, Make sure you do one thing, Mr. President.

I said, What is that?

He said, Keep the speech short. Students can't wait to get back into class.


Here we go.

I also want to thank the folks that Laura and I got to meet earlier, teachers and superintendent, parent. They explained to us why this school is so good. And we're here because this is a great school.

Talk a little bit about that later on. But one thing for certain is that the philosophy of this school needs to be the philosophy of every school. And that is, you believe in the best for every student, and you do what is necessary to make sure that every child -- not groups of children, but every child can read and write and add and subtract, and every child has got the potential to achieve his or her dreams in America.

First thing I want to do is congratulate the leadership of this school, the principal, the teachers and the involved parents, for a job well done.


I want to thank Laura for traveling with me today. She's been traveling with me for a long time.


And for a public school librarian, the highway has been a little bumpier than she probably thought. But she shares the same passion I do, and that is to put systems in place to encourage every child to learn to read.

And so thank you for coming. Looking forward to working with you on education matters during the next four years.

I want to thank Rod Paige, who's joined us. Rod is the outgoing secretary of education. Four years ago, when I was looking at the Cabinet, I decided to pick somebody who had been on the front lines of educational excellence.

And I want to thank you, Rod, for not only serving in Houston, but coming from the great state of Texas to serve our country for four years.


I don't know if the senators will think this is breaking protocol, but Margaret Spellings is traveling with me today. Let's just say she is my domestic policy adviser and, if the Senate so decides, will succeed Rod as the secretary of education.

I don't know where you are, Margaret. There you are. Thanks.


I suspect that, if confirmed, the seat will improve.


Again, I want to thank Mel Riddile for being such a fine principal. He's what I would call an educational entrepreneur.

You can't have a good school unless you've got a good leader. And the principal is the leader of the school.

And I appreciate your spirit, I appreciate your vision and I appreciate your high standards.


And I want to thank the superintendent of schools for recognizing that this good man is a good principal.

And I want to thank you for being here, Jack Dale.

Dr. Jack Dale is with us, who is the superintendent of Fairfax County Public School District.

Thanks for taking on a big job.


I was pleased to see that United States senators from the commonwealth of Virginia have joined us.

I'm honored you're here, Senator. Thank you for coming.


Senator George Allen is with us.

Thank you for being here, George.


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