Thursday, January 15, 2009


For Immediate Release
January 8, 2009
President Bush Discusses No Child Left Behind
General Philip Kearny School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

[This is a very abbreviated and edited version. Mad Plato’s words are between brackets.]

Thank you for the warm welcome.
[I need a lot of warmth to raise the temperature of my cold
job-approval rating]

And Laura and I are thrilled to be here at Kearny School. We bring greetings from the Nation's Capital, but more importantly, we bring appreciation for those who are working so hard to make sure that every child can learn.
[Like me]

You know, seven years ago today, I had the honor of signing a bill that forever changed America's school systems.
[I’m the Decider, but you can also call me the Tester and DeTester]

It was called the No Child Left Behind Act.
[Governor Ann Richards called it No Child’s Behind Left, but I think she was talking about physical education]

I firmly believe that thanks to this law, more students are learning...
[Learning more and more how to take tests]

I'm proud to be here with my buddy. I guess it's okay to call the Secretary of Education here "buddy." That means friend.
[I’m good with synonyms]

At the end of the presidency, you get to do a lot of "lasts." I don't know if you saw on TV, but I pardoned my last Thanksgiving turkey.
[But I’m getting ready to pardon the fowl deeds of other turkeys that served under me]

I hope you can tell that education is dear to my heart. I care a lot about whether or not our children can learn to read, write, and add and subtract.
[I don’t want them to become president unless they can read, write, add and subtract better than I can.]

Miller of California, Congressman Boehner of Ohio -- Republicans and Democrats who worked together to get this piece of legislation passed. I believe that in signing that bill we enacted the most sweeping education reforms in a long, long time.
[Reforms that have swept away creativity and the teaching of skills]

The key to measuring is to test.
[But is it the path, key, or best method for teaching and learning?]

And by the way, I've heard every excuse in the book why we should not test -- oh, there's too many tests; you teach the test; testing is intrusive; testing is not the role of government.
[And these are true]

How can you possibly determine whether a child can read at grade level if you don't test?
[You can’t. O.K. test children…but spend time teaching them first…instead of teaching them…

And for those who claim we're teaching the test, uh-uh. We're teaching a child to read so he or she can pass the test.
[Then why is so much time spent teaching and practicing the damn test instead of

The facts are, if you get too far behind in reading, for example, it's nearly impossible to catch up. That's why it's important to test early.
[O.K. But diagnostic testing is much different than constantly practicing for a test and teaching a test]

Measurement is essential to success. When schools fall short of standards year after year, something has to happen. In other words, there has to be a consequence in order for there to be effective reforms. And one such thing that can happen is parents can enroll their children in another school.
[You know…run away from the problems]

It's---to me, measurement is the gateway to true reform, and measurement is the best way to ensure parental involvement.
[Test parents, too! Test and Measure! Measure and Test! Shock and Awe! Teach when there’s any time left]

Instead of looking the other way when students are falling behind,
policymakers at all levels are now beginning to be focused on how to close the achievement gap. Achievement gap is---it means this: White students are reading here, and African American students are reading here, and Latino students are reading down here. And that is unacceptable for the United States of America.
[Isn’t segregation illegal?]

Laura and I have been privileged to travel to schools over the past eight years such as this. And you'd be amazed at what we get to see.
[Lots and lots of tests and lots and lots of benches with marks on them]

Thank you for letting us come by for the last policy address that we have been honored to make.
God bless you.


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