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Special Event

George W. Bush Speaks at Education Leadership Forum in Southern California

Aired March 2, 2000 - 1:25 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush also is in Southern California today. Right now, the governor is holding what's billed as a leadership forum on education at a charter school in the town of Chula Vista, which is between San Diego and the Mexican border.

Let's listen to a bit of what the governor has to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... foremost, in my judgment, has got to be on English. And if schools want to enrich beyond in different languages, that's fine. But the fundamental measurement, the fundamental goal is proficiency in English.

When I was elected as governor -- this is another management principle that's important for people to understand what can happen. When I was elected, there was something like 30 stated objectives in the school system. Now, there were so many objectives, there were no objectives. There were so many goals, there were no goals. I mean, what happens, for example, if 20 of the goals are met but one of them isn't able to read? Where are we then?

So now we we've got four. We distilled the focus to four: English, math, science and social science. If districts want to enrich beyond, that's great. The big issue in your state, I know, and my state, is bilingual education. I ask this question: Does it work? That's what I want to know. Is it like a bridge or is it an end-all? Because if bilingual education ends up being a system in which a person doesn't come out with proficiency in English, it's not working, it's not working.

And I know you had the big debate here about immersion or bilingual. My attitude on that when they asked me about it was, you do what you need to do, but the question that ought to be asked is: Show us what works. And what works ought to be adopted at the local level.

WATERS: George W. Bush in Chula Vista, California, heavily Hispanic part of Southern California just south of San Diego, his so- called leadership forum there. And after tonight's debate, also in Southern California, although it will be in Los Angeles, the governor plans to head back home to Austin, Texas. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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