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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at ‘My Education, My Future’ in NY *updated*

September 8, 2009

Secretary Clinton arrived at the Manhattan Charter School to give remarks at the ‘My Education, My Future’ event in New York. I don’t yet have a transcript [or video] but if and when they become available, I’ll post them here. It was this event where President Obama gave his address to schoolchildren across the nation. You can see the video of the President giving his speech, here (cspan) and you can read the text of his remarks, here.

Someone in the comments asked if anyone here took issue with Obama addressing schoolchildren in the middle of a school day and I, for one, have to say “no” and here’s why- He is not the first President to do this. Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush did this. I am not sure if President Clinton did. Additionally, while some have claimed this is a political ploy perfectly timed to distract from his troubles with respect to getting his health care message out, I think that the fact that this is the first week that kids go back to school, kind of negates that. Were he doing this in, say, the second week of November, that would seem a bit suspect, perhaps. I also don’t buy the argument that he is “indoctrinating” our kids- he is the President of the United States and as such, he should try to be a role model for children and the importance of education cannot be under-stated. If I were going to worry about indoctrination, I’d worry more about stuff like this which tends to be ignored by the MSM. And honestly, even though I am not a big fan of Obama, the fact remains that I am not going to oppose everything the man does simply because he is Barack Obama.

Obviously, some disagree and I respect that, but that’s just my take.

Here is the transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks:

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.

STUDENTS: Good morning.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am so happy to be here today. And I thank your principal for that wonderful introduction. And I’m so pleased that I had a chance to be here with you on the first day of school for the Manhattan Charter School. I know tomorrow all the students from PS142 will be here, and this building will just be filled with boys and girls who are ready to learn a lot.

And it is exciting for me to have this chance to come here today to talk with you and answer your questions. Now when I walked in, one of the boys here said, “I have a question for you.” So I hope a lot of you have questions for me because – oh, I see the papers (inaudible). I want to talk with you about what is on your mind.

But first, let me thank your principal. Thank you so much Principal DePolo for your leading of this school, all of the faculty and staff of the Manhattan Charter School. I also want to thank the board of the school which is here. I want to recognize Mike Mulgrew from the UFT, and so many others who really work hard every day on behalf of the education of our children – Christina Grant, Ira Greenberg, William Colavito, Michelle Lewis, Jonas Chartock, Paul O’Neill – and all of you who are part of making sure that every boy and girl has a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.

Now, I would imagine that many of you are thinking about what this year is going to be like, what are you going to learn, what plans are you going to make, what you believe you’re going to be learning and doing and (inaudible) as the year goes by. Well, there is somebody who really does care a lot about what happens to our young people, and that’s our President, Barack Obama. And he is going to give a message to students all across the United States later today. And he’ll talk about how important it is what our teachers and our students do, because ultimately, how much you learn, how you feel about yourself is really up to you. And so President Obama wants to talk with you about his own experience and about what he hopes that each of you can achieve. He asked me to come today to speak personally with you because your education is so important to our country.

Now when I was your age, I think I was in fifth grade. Are there any fifth graders here? Oh, good. When I was in fifth grade, we had a president by the name of President Eisenhower. Now President Eisenhower gave us a very important message when I was a fifth grader. He basically said that he hoped that the boys and girls of America would study more math and science because our country needed people who could help us send a man to the moon, help us have breakthroughs in new kinds of scientific discoveries. And my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Kraus, came into our classroom one day and she said, “Boys and girls, the President of the United States wants you to learn more math and science.” Well, I was pretty excited to think that the President of the United States, way over in Washington, D.C. in the White House, was hoping that we would learn more.

Well, President Obama hopes that each of you will learn more. Now, I was never great at math or science, but I felt like it was important that I try my best. And that’s really what President Obama and I want each of you to feel, because there are so many opportunities for those who get an education.

How many of you want to grow up and graduate from high school? How many of you want to go to college? That’s wonderful. Well, I hope that all of you understand because it’s important not only for yourselves, but for each and every person in our country that our young people like you get the very best possible education you can. Your parents and your grandparents, your big brothers and sisters and everybody knows that it’s important that you’re here today. And I hope that this year will be the most exciting year that you’ve had.

Secretary Clinton arrives at Manhattan Charter School, Sept. 8th, 2009 (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Secretary Clinton arrives at Manhattan Charter School, Sept. 8th, 2009 (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2009 3:38 pm

    Those lucky kids! Hillary looks like a kid herself in those pictures – cute!

    OK, on the topic of the speech, I have no issue with the President speaking to school kids at the beginning of the school year. The only issue I HAD was removed and that was the pirported “lesson plan.” Here were my gripes:
    1. As an educator, I am sick and tired of people thinking “anyone can teach.” One needs grounding in educational philosophy, psychology, and methodology. This is why states have certification requirements and teachers must meet them. Teaching is not easy, and it takes a lifetime of learning and keeping up with the research. Which brings me to….
    2. That was NOT a lesson plan. It was an activity. A lesson plan sets out a series of procedures for the introduction of new material. Too many people think that as long as kids are acting, learning is going on. Not necessarily. Activities are good to reinforce learning, but that activity the White House distributed was not a lesson, reinforcement, maybe – application, maybe. But lesson-planning should always be left to the professionals who spend many years developing their skills, not to people who think anybody can teach.
    *rant over*

    I am glad they withdrew it.

  2. September 8, 2009 3:52 pm

    Still4Hill- good points and I agree and apparently so did the WH as they removed that.

  3. rachel permalink
    September 8, 2009 5:48 pm

    Still4Hill those kids were very lucky! I have no problem with what the president said to the kids, I suppose the controverisal part was done away with whatever. Now I am gonna rant, yes some people are gonna oppose what the president does just because they dont like him. I am not gonna be like that. Like I stated before it makes me sick when people try to make everything about race the democrates were up in arms about Regan speaking I was a kid then so I didnt understand what the fuss was about, but when the opposition party the republicans cry this time people want to make it about race and maybe for some it is, but it makes them look stupid when its pointed out that the democrates cried foul also, with that beign said Barack gave a good speech.

  4. Carolyn (Rodham) permalink
    September 8, 2009 7:01 pm

    Stacy,

    My beef about the speech is that it was essentially a PR stunt — just like similar addresses by George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. News reports from Bush’ 1991 address from a junior high school classroom in DC (with maybe 20 kids in attendance) said the White House hoped that the address would be shown at schools nationwide, and it WAS presented live on CNN and C-span and NBC radio, but without all the preparatory fanfare given to the event as came from the Obama White House, who knows how many kids outside of the 20 in the classroom actually saw it).

    Particularly iiluminating are some of the Democratic responses to the Bush address back in 1991:

    “The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students,” said Rep. Richard Gephardt, then the Democratic majority leader in the House of Representatives.”And the president should be doing more about education than saying, ‘Lights, camera, action.'”

    Patricia Schroeder, then a Democratic member of Congress from Colorado, said the speech showed “the arrogance of power,” and that the White House should not be “using precious dollars for campaigns” when “we are struggling for every silly dime we can get” for education.

    Republicans, though, defended the right of the president to address students. “Why is it political for the president of the United States to discuss education?” asked Newt Gingrich, who was then the House Republican whip. “It was done at a nonpolitical site and was beamed to a nonpolitical audience. . . . They wanted to reach the maximum audience with the maximum possible effect.”

    Sound familiar? It’s just politics, folks.

    To hear all the sanctimony from the Obama White House and his supporters in the blogosphere, pretending it’s anything more than that, is just a little nauseating, that’s all I’m saying.

    • September 8, 2009 7:11 pm

      Carolyn- I totally understand your view and respect it. I’m not discounting that there is a political aspect to it- of course there is, but I guess I am just putting it in the context of some of the craziness over the past month with some of the more over-the-top criticisms of some of the things going on (ie. health reform and death panels, the speech being an overt attempt to indoctrinate our children with socialist/communist ideology, etc).

      You are right to point out that when Reagan and Bush did this, the dems cried foul and the media should point that out. I’m betting that some of the folks speaking out against Obama’s education speech today probably were totally for it (or would be for it) when it was Reagan and Bush. Such is politics and yes, it’s annoying.

      As an overall general principle though, I’m not totally against presidents speaking at schools.

  5. still4hill permalink
    September 8, 2009 9:59 pm

    Well, I’m glad Hillary remembers Eisenhower telling us to study science and math after which I requested a chemistry set for Christmas and got some dress or something instead because my mother said girls did not HAVE chemistry sets. When I was studying chemistry in H.S. I learned that my mom had BLOWN UP her H.S. chem lab! They let her be valedictorian anyway, though.

    She never said no to a Nancy Drew book, though – and look at Hillary and Sonia Sotomayor (who also read all the books,)

    *Note: I meant purported up there – don’t wanna look illiterate – bad typing).

  6. ellysha arifianti permalink
    November 9, 2009 6:51 am

    hillary clinton very beautiful
    🙂

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