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Politics & Power - RIP Senator Edward Kennedy (1932 - 2009)

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Dťjŗ Vu All Over Again - The Brouhaha Over Obamaís Speech to Kids

Tuesday President Obama addressed the children in Americaís schools about the importance of education, personal responsibility and respecting parents and teachers. To hear the conservative talk show hosts talk about it you would think that he was trying to convert them all to Stalinism and have them march into the streets in a childrenís revolution. Pretty ridiculous, right? Well, itís not the first time such a speech brought such a reaction.

In 1991 then President George H.W. Bush gave a similar speech to children. This speech prompted a Congressional investigation and questioned whether he was using the kids for nothing more than a backdrop for his political agenda. Funny enough the speeches werenít that different. Iíd like to share with you two excerpts from the two speeches that capture the overall themes in them:

First speech: ďLet me tell you why I've made the trip up from the White House to Alice Deal Junior High. I'm not here to teach a lesson. You already have a very good teacher. I'm not here to tell you what to do or what to think. Maybe you're accustomed to adults talking about you and at you; well, today, I'm here to talk to you and challenge you. Education matters, and what you do today, and what you don't do can change your future.

Every day, we hear more bad news about our schools. Maybe you saw today's headline, I don't know if you had a chance to look at it, about the release of the new National Goals Report. Get the camera to come in and take a look at this for a moment. In math, for instance, this national report card shows that, nationwide, five of six eighth graders don't know the math they need to move up to the ninth grade.

In spite of troubling statistics like this one, I don't see this report, however, as just bad news, and I'll tell you why. This report tells us a lot about what you know and what you don't know. It gives us something to build on. It shows us our strengths and the weaknesses that we've go to correct. It sets forth a challenge to all of us: Work harder, learn more, revolutionize American education.Ē


Second speech: ďIíve talked a lot about your governmentís responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that arenít working where students arenít getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world Ė and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And thatís what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.


They look pretty similar donít they? The words differ and nearly two decades separate one from the other but at the end of the day both Presidents wanted to inspire kids to achieve. One a Republican and one a Democrat, but both saw the importance of inspiring kids to learn and to take ownership of their learning. For this they were both lambasted and called political opportunists by people only concerned with their own political agendas. It is a sad statement on America when a President starts out with the goal to inspire youth to learn and is not only criticized but vilified for doing so.

Some of the pundits are saying that Obama went too far by sending out lesson plans for the teachers before the speech. The funny thing is, if he hadnít the teachers would likely have complained that the speech took up valuable class time without any learning objective presented. As was the case for President Bush, President Obama could not win in this situation. People that are determined to make their political futures based not on the strength of their own characters but by the assassination of othersí will stop at nothing to turn even the most well-intentioned acts into something to malign and point to as the great evil that everyone should look upon so that none will notice the insignificance of the person pointing the finger.

We should thank both President Bush and President Obama for having the strength of character to weather the intense political storms that came when they acted on their good intentions and at least tried to inspire the youth of America to embrace education. To the critics that cried foul on both occasions, what have you done to inspire a young person to learn lately?

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer| Give your feedback on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net





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