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                                                                 April 10, 2001

                                 REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                              IN CHARACTER EDUCATION EVENT

                                      The State Dining Room

                                  Listen to the President's Remarks

                 3:12 P.M. EDT

                           THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all.  Mr. Secretary, thank you very
                 much.  Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for being here.  I'm glad to see you.
                 And I'm glad to see the Superintendent.  I appreciate you all being here. This is
                 not the first time I've been with the Mayor, nor with the Superintendent, both of
                 whom are doing a fine job for Washington, D.C.  I'm proud to call this place
                 home, and I'm proud to have you all leading the city and the school district.

                           I want to thank the members
                 of the Young Gentlemen's Club, and
                 I'm looking forward to shaking your
                 hand after the discussion.  And
                 thank you all for making the right
                 choices in life.  I want to thank our
                 panelists.  I look forward to hearing
                 from our panelists.

                           I want to start the discussion
                 by quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.,
                 who said this:  "Intelligence is not enough.  Intelligence plus character, that is the
                 goal of true education."  So we're here today to herald character-building
                 programs.  We're here today to recommend that throughout America we teach
                 values to our children; that we not only teach our children how to read and
                 write, but that we be bold enough to teach them the difference between right
                 and wrong, as well.  And we've picked a pretty darn good school as an

                           By the way, I found this, that one of the keys to success in our public
                 education is to have good strong principles.  So, Andy, thank you for being
                 here.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you.  One of the keys to success is
                 to have role models not only live a quality life, but be willing to take time out of
                 their lives to share their experiences.  So I'm pleased to have a star basketball
                 player with us here.

                           One of the keys to success is to find people who are willing to use their
                 intelligence to rally people of compassion to serve as mentors and role models
                 for children, young ladies in this case.  And so I'm pleased that Elaine Bennett is
                 here.  One of the keys to success is being a good mom.  And so I'm so thankful
                 you're here, Nicole.  One of the keys to success is to be willing to listen to what
                 the adults say.  And so, Isaiah, thank you for being here, as well.

                           And finally, it is an honor that
                 Mr. Bob Howard is with us, a
                 person who has taken time out of
                 his life to make sure that the Young
                 Gentlemen's Club flourishes.

                           Parents have a tough battle in
                 America today.  Their children
                 sometimes receive conflicting
                 messages.  And what public
                 education ought to do is stand on the side of parents, and be willing to reinforce
                 the values that parents teach their children.  And the Young Gentlemen's Club
                 does just that.  And so I'm looking forward to hearing the stories.  I'm looking
                 forward to hearing how best I can help.

                           One way we can help, by the way, is to have our budgets reflect our
                 priorities.  And the budget I submitted to Congress triples the amount of
                 character education money available for public education.  The budget I
                 submitted to the Congress increases the amount of money available for
                 abstinence education programs.  And the money and program I've submitted to
                 the Congress encourages after-school programs to be run by faith-based and
                 community-based programs that exist because they've heard the universal call
                 to love a neighbor just like they'd like to be loved themselves.

                           We can make a huge difference in the lives of America's children. It
                 starts recognizing that society's changed one child at a time; one heart, one soul,
                 one conscience at a time.  And this program, the Young Gentlemen's Club,
                 does precisely that.

                           So thank you, Mr. Secretary, it's an honor.  And thank you all for

                                       * * * * *

                           THE PRESIDENT:  Let me say one thing, Mr. Secretary.  To prove the
                 principal's point, they use a Stanford Nine here in the District of
                 Columbia.  Many of you know that I'm a strong advocate for accountability. If
                 you don't measure, you don't know.  And so, under the leadership of the
                 Superintendent, there's a lot of measuring that goes on.  It's really important to
                 measure, by the way, and I hope the Congress gets the message how important
                 it is that in return for more money, we need to have strong accountability
                 systems developed at the local level.

                           Cleveland Elementary
                 School, on the Stanford Nine, is on
                 partnership with affluent local
                 suburban districts.  In other words,
                 it's not just talking the talk, the
                 results have improved significantly
                 as a result of character programs,
                 and focus on each child.

                           And I want to thank you for
                 your hard work, Madam Principal, and the results bear out what you just
                 said.  There is a connection between good character and good education.  And
                 we've got to remember that in this country.  That's why it's important to spread
                 character education programs throughout America.

                                       * * * * *

                           THE PRESIDENT:  I think we've got a perfect gentleman here.  Tell us
                 about your program, Isaiah, can you?

                           Q    Yes.  The program teaches us how to be -- how to respect women
                 and how to control our attitude.

                           THE PRESIDENT:  And when do you meet?  How often do you meet?

                           Q    When I was there we used to meet in the afternoons.

                           THE PRESIDENT:  Oh,
                 good.  And so who is -- teaches
                 you how to respect women?  Is that
                 what you just said?  And is it

                           Q    Yes.  (Laughter.)

                           THE PRESIDENT:  How
                 about mom?

                           Q    Yes.

                           THE PRESIDENT:  You listen to your mom?

                           Q    Yes.

                           THE PRESIDENT:  I listen to mine.  (Laughter.)

                                            * * * * *

                           THE PRESIDENT:  Is he studying?

                           Q    He's studying hard.  He's very --

                           THE PRESIDENT:  That's great.

                           Q    -- excited about his school work, and all that he does.

                           THE PRESIDENT:  He's going to college, isn't he?

                           Q    That's right.  Yes, he is.  (Applause.)

                           THE PRESIDENT:  Have you got anything to add to that, Isaiah?

                                         * * * * *

                           THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I want to thank our panelists.  I believe
                 America can conquer any problem we're faced with, I truly believe that,
                 because this is a loving country, because a lot of people really care about
                 members of the Young Gentlemen's Club, whether it be at Cleveland
                 Elementary or any other elementary.  There are a lot of people who really care
                 about their neighbor in this country.

                           All of us have got to do our part.  The federal government can put money
                 up, but we can't make people love one another.  And that's something we've
                 just got to understand in our country.  That we can fund programs -- and we
                 will -- there will be a lot of discussions about what gets funded and what
                 doesn't get funded, and this, that, and the other. But the truth of the matter is the
                 issue is bigger than budgets.  The issue is about whether or not loving people in
                 America want to help somebody in need.

                           And I think so.  And to the extent that you all are helping, I want to thank
                 you from the bottom of my heart.  One of my missions is to encourage
                 mentoring programs all across the country.  One of our missions is to make sure
                 that boys and girls whose mother or dad may be in prison finds a mentor,
                 somebody to love them.  One of our missions is to teach -- is to help teach
                 children right from wrong so that they can enjoy the great fruits of the greatest
                 country on the face of the Earth.  And to the extent you're helping, I thank you
                 from the bottom of my heart.

                           Thank you all for coming.  I look forward to getting to shake hands with
                 the members of the Young Gentlemen's Club, if that's okay with you.  God
                 bless.  (Applause.)

                                         3:34 P.M. EDT