Obama Takes Policy Pitch to School

The president is highlighting a series of efforts aimed at improving the nation’s schools.

Posted: 09/28/2011 08:12 AM EDT
Filed Under Barack Obama, education

Barack Obama Speaks at Denver School

With the new school year currently underway, President Obama is highlighting a series of efforts aimed at improving the nation’s schools.

 

Last week, Obama unveiled a plan to revise “No Child Left Behind” by giving states more flexibility to meet high standards.  And now, a new round of school appearances are planned to keep the momentum around education going. 

 

During Monday’s exclusive interview with BET News, the president touted his $447 billion jobs bill as one way to give schools and the economy a boost. He said, “Overall it's designed to make sure we are rebuilding schools and bridges and putting construction workers back to work, putting teachers back in the classroom, and it makes certain we are providing incentives to hire veterans who are out of work, and also the long-term unemployed who are out of work.”

 

Tuesday, the President spoke at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, Colorado.  He talked about a provision of The American Jobs Act that proposes $25 billion to rebuild and modernize nearly 35,000 schools.  

 

Obama told the crowd in Denver, “Every child deserves a great school — and we can give it to them. We can rebuild our schools for the 21st century, with faster internet, smarter labs, and cutting-edge technology.  And that won't just create a better, safer learning environment for the students; it'll create good jobs for local construction workers right here in Denver, across Colorado, and throughout the country.  There are schools all throughout Colorado that need this kind of renovation.”

 

But in order to accomplish these goals, it will take Congress to take action.  So Obama used today as an opportunity to do something he’s done numerous times in recent weeks — to send a strong directive to Capitol Hill. He said, “My question to Congress is: What on Earth are we waiting for? Why should our children be allowed to study in crumbling or outdated schools?  How does that give them the sense their education is important? We should build them the best schools! That's what I want for my kids, that's what I want for your kids, that's what I want for all our children."

 

The next school stop for the president will be Wednesday, when he addresses students at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, DC. This will be the president’s third back-to-school address and according to the White House, gives him a chance to interface directly with kids. Previously, the speeches have been largely motivational as he urged students to study hard, take responsibility for their education, set goals, and believe in themselves.

 

The staff and students at Banneker High seem to have a fair dose of motivation already.  Newsweek magazine recently named the school one of the best public high schools in the nation, a promising example for other urban schools to replicate.

(Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

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