Tag Archives: president obama

Mr. President is Not Impressed

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From the description on Flickr:

President Barack Obama jokingly mimics U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney's "not impressed" look while greeting members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams in the Oval Office, Nov. 15, 2012. Steve Penny, USA Gymnastics President, and Savannah Vinsant laugh at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Forsyth Tech Takes Center Stage

Thanks to President Obama's speech today our fine community college took center stage this afternoon.  From the White House blog post about the impending visit:

Today President Obama is traveling to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to visit with students and staff at Forsyth Technical Community College. Forsyth has an innovative biotechnology program that takes recent high school graduates, dislocated workers, and returning students and prepares them for careers in the biotechnology field.  In addition to training new workers, they have also developed innovative new curricula and training models to prepare their students for the biotechnology workforce that can be replicated across the nation. Forsyth also works closely with local biotech companies and academic institutions to ensure that their curriculum is preparing students to meet the demands of a career in the biotech field and helps connect students to employment opportunities.

Forsyth Technical Community College is a great example of how community colleges can play a role not only in our education system, but also in local economies. Back in October, President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a White House Summit on Community Colleges to highlight critical role that community colleges play in developing America’s workforce and reaching our educational goals.

 

Meet the President?

President Obama is making his way to Forsyth Tech next Monday.  My oldest has a class (International Biz) at Forsyth Tech every M-W-F, so there's a chance he could see the President.  He asked me if it's okay if he misses a class or two at Career Center or West Forsyth if he has the chance to see the President.  In my mind meeting/seeing the President is about as good an excuse for a potentially unexcused absence as you're ever going to have so he's going to get the green light.

Protecting Our High School Kids from the President of the United States of America

Today I received the following message from our kids' high school:

West Forsyth families… this message is to inform you that President Obama will be giving a back-to-school speech on Tuesday, September 14  at 1 p.m. He gave a similar speech last year in which he encouraged students to work hard, stay in school and graduate.

The school system will be showing the President's speech again this year. If you would prefer your student not watch the speech, please send a note with him or her on Tuesday.

Thank you.

I truly, truly, truly don't get this.  What have we come to when a back-to-school speech from the President is treated like sex-ed?  And I don't say this just because it's this President.  I'd say it if we were talking about either President Bush, President Clinton, President Reagan, President Carter, etc.  

What's even more troubling is that these are high school kids we're talking about. I can't believe parents feel like their kids aren't mature enough to take what they hear from the President, evaluate it, discuss it and then make their own judgments. 

For the record I don't really blame the school administrators; they're obviously reacting to feedback they received last year and are putting a system in place in anticipation of a similar reaction from parents this year. I'm just supremely disappointed that some members of my generation feel like they've raised kids who aren't smart enough to figure out for themselves whether or not a speech from the President is an innocuous message of encouragement, or some sort of "liberal propaganda" disguised as a back to school speech.  

A Voice of Principle and Reason

President Obama wrote the following on Twitter: "With Robert Byrd's passing, West Virginia has lost a true champion, and America has lost a voice of principle and reason."

Let's put this in perspective.  That sentence was written by America's first black president about a man who while he was serving in Congress filibustered against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and as a young man had belonged to the KKK.  Byrd later said that he regretted both of those decisions, but to me that even further highlights the change we've seen in this country in what is really a historical blink of an eye.

Here's an interesting fact for those of us who live in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina: Byrd was born in 1917 in North Wilkesboro (about an hour from Winston-Salem) and was originally named Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr. His mother died in the 1918 flu pandemic and he was adopted by his aunt and uncle from West Virginia and they changed his name to Robert Carlyle Byrd.  

President Obama Doesn’t Want Your Kids to Be Dumberer Than You

First he gave a speech indoctrinating America's students into his radical agenda of studying hard so they could, you know, get j-o-b-s some day and now he's going absolutely revolutionary on their young butts by proposing they spend more time in school.  Good gracious, what's next, an expectation of literacy?

I predict a joining of forces of the following lobbyists in DC:

  • Teachers
  • Beach communities
  • Amusement parks
  • Baseball (major and minor leagues)

Here's an interesting nugget from the story:

While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it's not true they all spend more time in school.

Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests — Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).

Based on the conversations I hear between what I'd consider very average American teenagers I'd say that students in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong probably also outscore American kids on English tests.

So how is it that our kids spend more time at school than their Asian counterparts, yet do not achieve the same level of proficiency?  It would be easy to point the finger at the schools, teachers, curriculum, parents or the kids themselves, but the reality is it's probably a combination of factors.  Some of it is crappy teaching, some of it is crappy parenting and Lord knows there are plenty of lame classes being offered. 

My gut tells me that while President Obama's direction is positive, we'd probably be better served by looking at how the hours are spent before we look at adding more of them. There has to be a reason that our kids are being outperformed even though they're spending more time in school.  We have to question everything: teachers, curriculum, class size, daily schedule and physical resources (books, lab equipment, etc.).  Think about it logically: if we are doing something wrong and we add more time to do it without correcting our process then all we're going to accomplish is doing it wrong more often.  How's that going to help?