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Secretary Spellings Delivers Remarks at the League Town Hall Meeting in New York


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today joined Joel Klein, Chancellor of New York City Public Schools, to participate in The LEAGUE town hall meeting at Midtown West School in New York City. In her keynote remarks and panel discussion with Dave Barger, Chief Executive Officer of JetBlue Airways and The LEAGUE Chair, singer Melinda Doolittle, Harlem Globetrotter Eugene Edgerson, CW11 Weather Anchor Mr. G, and Midtown West Principal Dean Ketchum, Secretary Spellings noted that schools play an important role in developing character and teaching lessons such as self-respect, integrity, and responsibility.

“In today’s competitive world, our students need solid academic skills to succeed. But they also need the ability to make responsible choices, the courage to stand up for what’s right, and the compassion to help others,” said Secretary Spellings. “Through character education programs, service projects and volunteerism, organizations like ’The League’ are helping students develop good character and citizenship as well as pursue academic excellence.”

Five years ago, the Department of Education began requiring character education grant programs to evaluate their success based on evidence. Over time, questions arose on effective methods for evaluation and measurement. As a result, Secretary Spellings today announced the availability of a new guide, Mobilizing for Evidence-Based Character Education, that provides a roadmap to help educators evaluate their programs more effectively. This guide helps take some of the guesswork out of improving and maximizing character education programs, and demonstrates the department’s commitment to scientific evaluation as a critical tool for schools and parents to understand what works for their students.

Since coming into office, President Bush has provided support for character education, including more than $25 million for the Department of Education’s Partnerships in Character Education Program. The program, currently reaching more than 1.2 million students in over 1,700 schools, was designed to assist in designing, implementing, and sustaining high-quality opportunities for students to learn how to become involved, caring citizens with good character. Grantees work in partnerships with parents, schools, businesses, law enforcement, community-based organizations, and the faith-based community to implement character education throughout the community.

Secretary Spellings today also highlighted No Child Left Behind and the importance of reauthorizing the law and continuing to close the achievement gap in the U.S. No Child Left Behind shines a bright light on our nation’s education system and provides more information to parents through annual assessments and disaggregated data. The 2007 Nation’s Report Card shows that America’s 4th and 8th graders continue to make significant gains in reading and math, while African-American and Hispanic students are posting all-time highs in nearly every category. After six successful years of implementation, the Department is working closely with Congress to improve and strengthen the law through reauthorization.


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