U.S. President Barack Obama in Elkhart, Indiana - Town Hall - February 9th, 2009




Now, there's a young man right in front of you here who's -- yes, you. (Laughter.) In fact, I just received a note that this is the last question. Oh, don't be mad at me. (Laughter.) I would love to stay here for a long time, but I've got to go back to Washington and convince everybody to get moving on this package. (Applause.)

Q What are you going to do to help our schools?

THE PRESIDENT: And this is a good place to end, with our future here. What's your name?

Q My name is James.

THE PRESIDENT: James, how old are you?

Q I'm nine years old.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, fantastic. What's your question?

Q What are you going to do to help our schools?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, I just started talking about that. (Laughter.) So, James, as I said, I think that we've got to rebuild our schools to make sure that they're state of the art. We also have to make sure that we are training new teachers and retraining some of the existing teachers so that they've got the best possible skills.

We also are going to have to reform how we do business in some of the schools. I think it's very important for us to have high standards. I think we've got to do a better job, though, of assessing performance in schools. No Child Left Behind needs to be reworked in a more effective way. (Applause.)

But the last thing that we need in schools -- do in schools has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with parents. (Applause.) Because we can put as much money as we want into schools -- if parents don't have an attitude that says, I'm going to make sure my child does my homework; that I'm meeting with the teacher to find out what's going on; if all of us aren't instilling a sense of excellence in our kids -- then they're not going to be able to compete. And that means young people like you, you're going to have to -- you're going to have to work a little harder. (Laughter and applause.)

Yes. Thank you, James.

All right, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)

END 1:07 P.M. EST