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Pelosi: A Head Start for America's Children

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi was joined by Members of the House and Senate and young children at an enrollment ceremony in the Capitol this morning to sign Head Start legislation and send it to President Bush for his signature into law. Below are the Speaker's remarks as prepared:

'The New Direction Congress has made America's children--their education, their health, and their future--a top priority.

'The Head Start for School Readiness Act, which I will sign today and send to the President, is another bipartisan step toward our goal of ensuring that all of America's children have the tools they need to succeed.

'Passage of this excellent legislation is due in large part to the legislative skill of two of Congress' leading advocates for children, Chairman Ted Kennedy and Chairman George Miller.

'Chairman Miller was ably assisted on the Education and Labor Committee by an experienced legislator and the sponsor of this crucial legislation, Congressman Dale Kildee of Michigan, and two members of his committee, Lynn Woolsey and Linda Sanchez, both of California.

'I also want to thank Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware for his willingness to reach across the aisle in what is truly a bipartisan effort to strengthen Head Start.

'We are also joined by three of our new members who worked alongside Chairman Miller in the House to deliver this bipartisan victory for America's families and our children - Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, and Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky.

'I thank them all for their hard work and dedication to America's children.

'I also want to welcome our special guests this morning: Cynthia, Jessica, Shagittu, Colin, Ahmari, Gregory, and Julian.

This past spring, the New Direction Congress convened the National Summit on America's Children, bringing together experts and academics to review scientific findings on early childhood development.

'The Head Start for School Readiness Act puts the children's summit's findings into action.  It is informed by the latest science.  It invests in teacher and classroom quality, focuses on school readiness, and makes Head Start available to more children.

'Head Start is one of America's most popular investments because it is one of our most effective.  This legislation builds on its success and strengthens Head Start for the future.

'The New Direction Congress has made clear that we take seriously our responsibility to America's children.  We understand that America's future will only be as strong as our commitment to the health and well-being of every child.

'On behalf of America's children, I am honored to sign the Head Start for School Readiness Act and to send it to the President for his signature.'