Teach Your 'Childrens' Well

Mark Knoller is a White House Correspondent for CBS News.
NEW YORK (CBS) - Every president makes grammatical errors. We all do.

But it's really embarrassing when you're making a point about education in America and your audience includes school kids.

It happened to President Bush here this morning during an event to trumpet the findings of yesterday's national report card on 4th and 8th grading reading and math scores.

"In math, the scores for 4th and 8th graders were higher than they've ever been," said Mr. Bush. "In reading, the scores for 4th graders were also the highest on record."

And he asserts that his No Child Left Behind program, which requires annual testing in reading and math and imposes sanctions on schools that don't meet the grade, deserves a good share of the credit.

At an event this morning with the Mayor of New York and the city's schools Chancellor, Mr. Bush said the program is "working for all kinds of children in all kinds of schools in every part of the country."

But the measure expires this year and Pres. Bush is waging an aggressive effort to get Congress to extend and expand the program.

"And so my call to the Congress," he said, "is don't water down this good law. Don't go backwards when it comes to educational excellence. Don't roll back accountability. We've come too far to turn back."

But with kids from P.S. 76 listening carefully, the President also said:

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

Childrens do learn? We know what he meant, it just came out wrong – and during an event about reading writing and arithmetic.

But Mr. Bush likes to boast that he's living proof that even a "C" student can grow up to be President.

Even one who makes grammatical errors.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.