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Press Release

April 8, 2002

Contacts: Office of Public Affairs

"Parents have greater role than ever before," says Secretary, "but don't know it"

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (April 8) - Flanked by 2002 Olympic Gold Medalist Tristan Gale and Tejano songstress Stefani Montiel, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige took to the road today to educate parents about the most sweeping change in education policy in three decades...and to ask for their help. As part of a 25-city "No Child Left Behind" Tour Across America, Secretary Paige aims to reach out to parents and working families to ask for their active participation in this process of improving America's schools.

"For No Child Left Behind to work, we need the energy, enthusiasm and expectations of parents," Paige told students, parents and teachers at a downtown rally commemorating the signing of the 'No Child Left Behind Act.' "We need them to tell their local schools, their state officials, and their elected representatives that this law doesn't just increase the resources, it expects results."

With the tour, Secretary Paige unveiled a No Child Left Behind toolkit for parents, featuring an interactive CD and guidebooks on "What to Know and Where to Go" to answer questions and find resources for local information. A new website will also become a virtual one-stop shop for parents and families, teachers and principals, local and state officials, and members of the business and civic community.

"Congress and the President have made an historic commitment that every child will be able to read by the time they finish the Third Grade - every child, no exceptions. Yet, for no child to be left behind, it means every American must take a stand to get involved and change the culture and expectations we have for every school.

"That's why I'm here in Albuquerque, to spread the message that all of our children can learn.

"I'll take this message - of 'No Child Left Behind' and what's in it for parents and children, teachers and principals - into Town Hall Meetings, school libraries, barber shops and beauty parlors, shopping centers, factory lunch rooms and senior citizens centers all over this country."

Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which President Bush signed in January, states and school districts will develop strong systems of accountability based upon student performance. The new law also gives states and school districts increased local control and flexibility, removing federal red tape and bureaucracy and putting decision-making in the hands of those at the local and state levels. Parents of children from disadvantaged backgrounds will have options under the new law to participate in public school choice programs or obtain supplemental services such as tutoring. And, teachers around the country will be encouraged to use teaching methods based upon scientific research that demonstrates that they work.

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