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The Nation

On Bush's report card, he gets an S, for slip-up

Touting advancements in math and reading, the president cites progress by 'childrens.'

September 27, 2007|James Gerstenzang | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — President Bush's stumbles with the English language are well documented, and he frequently notes them himself. But the latest came at a particularly awkward moment -- as he was bragging about the success of his centerpiece education initiative.

On Wednesday, Bush summoned a top-flight gathering to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to highlight advances students have made in the National Assessment of Education Progress.

Bush proudly cited a federal government report released Tuesday that showed improvements in math among fourth- and eighth-graders and in reading among fourth-graders.

"As yesterday's positive report card shows," Bush said, "childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured."

The official transcript distributed by the White House cleaned up his grammatical infelicity, printing the statement without the S on "children."

The president's message was intended to prod Congress to reenact the No Child Left Behind law, which went into effect in 2002 and is up for renewal.

"Don't water down this good law," he said. "Don't go backwards when it comes to educational excellence. Don't roll back accountability."

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james.gerstenzang@ latimes.com

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