Thoughts on the Educational Perspective of Obama’s Address

Obama: “the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow.”

As a student myself, I appreciated the emphasis Obama put on education last night in his speech. I think it is such an important issue and just doesn’t get enough attention. After watching the speech, most of my lingering thoughts of the speech dealt with education in one way or another.

The story of Ty’Sheoma Bethea was inspiring and motivating. Here’s a quote from last night that can’t help but put a smile on your face:

Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina – a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom. She has been told that her school is hopeless, but the other day after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this room. She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp. The letter asks us for help, and says, “We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world. We are not quitters.”

We are not quitters.

These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here. They tell us that even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres; a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity.

Their resolve must be our inspiration. Their concerns must be our cause. And we must show them and all our people that we are equal to the task before us.
A question that remains mostly unanswered is what is this administration going to do to make education more affordable? I have one year remaining of undergraduate, and I aspire to be a lawyer. How am I going to afford that? Loans add up fast, and how will I ever pay it off? With the economy going downhill, getting a job will be incredibly hard – let alone a GOOD job.

Living in a country known for its opportunities, I want nothing less than the best education offered for me and for future generations of American students- how are we going to ensure our teachers are the best they can be and that they are provided with the funding to incorporate better educational services and resources for their students. I know too many teachers who have to pay out of their own pockets for classroom materials (like teacher’s pay is sufficient to pay with!)

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