- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
No controversy over Obama’s back-to-school speech this year
President Obama’s second back-to-school address contained a similar message of studiousness on Tuesday, but unlike last year, the speech failed to ignite partisan flames and cries of socialist indoctrination.
Controversy over the president’s first such address stemmed from a suggested lesson plan issued by the Education Department that asked students to reflect on how they could help the president. That exercise, though later modified, prompted some critics to keep their children home.
This time around, the White House appeared to have learned its lesson and avoided a similar media frenzy by issuing Mr. Obama’s straightforward and — judging by the lack of conservative backlash — uncontroversial address ahead of time.
In his remarks, made at a magnet school in Philadelphia, Mr. Obama told students nothing is out of their reach if they apply themselves to their education, and he used his own experience of being chided by his mother over his studies to urge them not to be discouraged.
“Eventually, her words had their intended effect. I got serious about my studies. I made an effort. And I began to see my grades — and my prospects — improve. And I know that if hard work could make the difference for me, it can make the difference for you, too,” Mr. Obama told students at the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School.
The president noted that the current recession and an increasingly global marketplace meant the stakes were even higher for today’s students. He urged them to overcome challenges such as bullies or broken families and dedicate themselves to their studies.
Mr. Obama’s education policies are one of a few areas in which he often breaks with traditional allies. Teachers unions and some civil rights groups have been turned off by his marquee “Race to the Top” initiative, which advocates rewarding good teachers based on performance while penalizing those who don’t show progress. The federal grant program also calls for radical steps to turn around failing schools.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kara Rowland, White House reporter for The Washington Times, is a D.C.-area native. She graduated from the University of Virginia, where she studied American government and spent nearly all her waking hours working as managing editor of the Cavalier Daily, UVa.’s student newspaper.
Her interest in political reporting was piqued by an internship at Roll Call the summer before her ...
- London Olympics not everyone's cup of tea
- Obama hits road to push jobs plan
- Obama calls for the end of 'political circus' on economy, seeks stimulus plan for jobs
- Brennan: Al Qaeda is 'organization in distress'
- Hoffa's words about labor's importance brushed off
Latest Blog Entries
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Activists encourage Obama to circumvent Congress, use more executive authority
- Obama lived with Uncle Onyango Obama in the 1980s, White House admits
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!