October 22, 2003, Extra Credit
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October 22, 2003
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 October 21
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National Character Counts Week

By proclamation of President Bush, October 19 through October 25, 2003 has been designated National Character Counts Week. Character education is an important component of No Child Left Behind. The law provides competitive grants to help States and school districts develop character education curricula, implement model character education programs that involve parents and community members, and train teachers to incorporate character-building lessons and activities into the classroom.

Since taking office, President Bush has increased funding for character education from $8 million to $25 million. In the first six years of this program, the U.S. Department of Education distributed 46 grants for character education. Thanks to the support in No Child Left Behind, in the last two years alone, the Department has now awarded 47 grants to state and local school districts.

As stated in the President's proclamation: "The development of character and citizenship has always been a primary goal of America's schools. Today, it is more important than ever that we educate our young people to be knowledgeable, compassionate, and involved citizens of a free society. Since 2002, 47 State education agencies and local school districts have received grants to implement character education programs. These grants help schools work with students, parents, and community organizations to effectively teach universal values such as respect, honesty, and tolerance. By teaching these values to our children, and living by them in our own lives, we can build a future of hope, compassion, and opportunity for all."

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige recently discussed character education in a speech at the Character Education Partnership 10th Anniversary Dinner. As he stated in his remarks: "The development of a culture of character is crucial to the well-being of our nation. For this great nation to sustain its prominence, we must do a better job educating our children. But we must teach them more than reading and math, we must also teach them the values upon which this nation was built."

The complete text of President Bush's proclamation is available online.

The complete text of Secretary Paige's remarks is available online.


About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

If you would like the NCLB Extra Credit emailed to you, please send a request to Geoff Goodman at or call (202) 205-9191.


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Last Modified: 10/22/2003