Tuesday, March 10, 2009

President Obama and Education

I don’t know if you guys check the white house blog often, but you should. It's awesome.

So far it’s been an amazing resource to find out exactly what’s going on with President Obama’s administration. It’s also great to see his speeches posted so we know exactly what he said.

Today’s post focused on education:

In the opening of his speech today at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the President met critics head on who complain of too much change, too fast:

“Every so often, throughout our history, a generation of Americans bears the responsibility of seeing this country through difficult times and protecting the dream of its founding for posterity. This is a responsibility that has fallen to our generation. Meeting it will require steering our nation’s economy through a crisis unlike any we have seen in our time. In the short-term, that means jumpstarting job creation, re-starting lending, and restoring confidence in our markets and our financial system. But it also means taking steps that not only advance our recovery, but lay the foundation for lasting, shared prosperity.

I know there are some who believe we can only handle one challenge at a time. They forget that Lincoln helped lay down the transcontinental railroad, passed the Homestead Act, and created the National Academy of Sciences in the midst of Civil War. Likewise, President Roosevelt didn’t have the luxury of choosing between ending a depression and fighting a war. President Kennedy didn’t have the luxury of choosing between civil rights and sending us to the moon. And we don’t have the luxury of choosing between getting our economy moving now and rebuilding it over the long term.”
Again President Obama has hit the nail on the head. The sad reality is we simply don’t compare to other countries in regard to education.

I have friends who graduated high school and yet can’t name the two bodies that make up congress. That's frightening to me.


He proposed four pillars of reform:

1) "Investing in early childhood initiatives" like Head Start;

2) "Encouraging better standards and assessments" by focusing on testing itineraries that better fit our kids and the world they live in;

3) "Recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers" by giving incentives for a new generation of teachers and for new levels of excellence from all of our teachers.

4) "Promoting innovation and excellence in America’s schools" by supporting charter schools, reforming the school calendar and the structure of the school day.

And for students themselves, the President had a message for them as well:
“Of course, no matter how innovative our schools or how effective our teachers, America cannot succeed unless our students take responsibility for their own education. That means showing up for school on time, paying attention in class, seeking out extra tutoring if it’s needed, and staying out of trouble. And to any student who’s watching, I say this: don’t even think about dropping out of school. As I said a couple of weeks ago, dropping out is quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country, and it is not an option – not anymore. Not when our high school dropout rate has tripled in the past thirty years. Not when high school dropouts earn about half as much as college graduates. And not when Latino students are dropping out faster than just about anyone else. It is time for all of us, no matter what our backgrounds, to come together and solve this epidemic.”



The entire speech is amazing I definitely recommend it, but its' super long so I'm not gonna post it here.
"So let there be no doubt: The future belongs to the nation that best educates its citizens -- and my fellow Americans, we have everything we need to be that nation. We have the best universities, the most renowned scholars. We have innovative principals and passionate teachers and gifted students, and we have parents whose only priority is their child's education. We have a legacy of excellence, and an unwavering belief that our children should climb higher than we did."

Full speech here.

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