[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 37, Number 4 (Monday, January 29, 2001)] [Pages 214-215] [Online from the Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov] <R04> Remarks at a Reading Roundtable January 22, 2001 Laura and I have been honored to host a discussion on an incredibly important subject, and that's education and reading. I really appreciate the Secretary of Education for coming, Dr. Rod Paige; and for educators, leaders, from all around the country who've come here to the Roosevelt Room. Phyllis Hunter coined a phrase that I quote a lot, and that is, ``Reading is the new civil right.'' It's the cornerstone of hope and opportunity in America, and we're going to make sure every child has the opportunity to learn to read. That means we're going to have scientific- based knowledge be the cornerstone of our curriculum. And that's why I appreciate Reid Lyon and others, experts in the field of reading, for being here to help make sure our curriculum reflect that which works. We're going to diagnose children early and correct problems when we find them. As importantly, I'm going to ask Congress to spend money on teacher training, to make sure that our teachers, the heart and soul of the education system, have got the tools necessary to teach children to read. I'm excited about working with the pros in the field of education. This is not a Republican issue; it's not a Democrat issue; it's not an independent issue; this is an American issue, and the most fundamental of all American issues. If the mission is to make sure the American experience touches every willing heart, every person in the country, it starts with making sure our children learn to read, and it starts with making sure children learn to read early. And one of the key initiatives that we have been discussing is, how do we make sure that we get science- [[Page 215]] based reading instruction to the youngest of the young? One way is to make sure that Head Start has a reading component as a part of its overall mission. So I want to thank you all for coming. This is a week where I'm going to, hopefully, focus the Nation's attention on public schools and how the Congress and the executive branch can work together to pass law and appropriate money that will enable Dr. Paige and myself to work on the noblest of all missions, that every single child be educated in America, and not one--I mean not one--be left behind. Note: The President spoke at 1:49 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary of Education Roderick R. Paige; G. Reid Lyon, chief, Child Development Branch, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development; and Phyllis Hunter, consultant, Texas Reading Initiative.