Move over valedictorians. Obama wants to speak at graduation

He wouldn’t be boring. How about Barack Obama as your high school graduation speaker this spring?

High schools can compete to have President Obama as their graduation speaker this spring.

High schools can compete to have President Obama as their graduation speaker this spring.

Normally, I would think that schools would be thrilled at the thought of having the president of the United States rather than the president of the local Ford dealership speak at commencement, but recall what happened the last time Obama wanted to speak to students.

Some schools either opted out of showing the September speech that Obama gave to encourage kids to stay in school  or sent out permission forms in reaction to parents who were concerned that the speech would advance a political agenda.

According to the White House, Obama and the Education Department are giving public high schools the opportunity to compete to have the president speak at their commencement ceremony this spring.

According to the official release:

The White House and the Department of Education have announced a new Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge and are inviting public schools across the country to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation. At the beginning of the school year, the President encouraged students across the country to take responsibility for their education, study hard and graduate from high school.  The Race to the Top High School Commencement challenge encourages schools to show how they are making great strides on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness.

Applications must be completed by students and submitted by a high school’s Principal using the Commencement Challenge Application Form no later than Monday, March 15th at 11:59 pm EST.  Each school may submit only one application and high schools must be public to apply.   Following the application deadline, six finalists will be selected by the White House and Department of Education.  These schools will then be featured on the White House website and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal.  The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2010.

The application’s four essay questions focus on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.  Applications will be judged based on the school’s performance and dedication to providing students an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Each question must be answered in full to qualify and data that substantiates each answer is strongly encouraged.

I think it would be great to have the president speak at a Georgia high school. I hope my local school will join the competition. I bet some of you are going to disagree.

43 comments Add your comment

David S

February 19th, 2010
7:10 pm

Stay home. Your economic policies are already going to guarantee that I start my career tens of thousands of dollars further in debt to China and every other bond holder. Worse, your destructive business policies and continued support for the Federal Reserve almost completely guarantee that I will be facing the worst hyperinflation that the world has ever seen, right when I am trying to get through college.

No thanks Obama. Is Ron Paul available for graduation speeches?

Obama supporter

February 19th, 2010
7:30 pm

At least Obama is trying to do something about education. Bush is didn’t do anything and now he is being a PUNK and hiding behind this MESS he left the country in, Come on Mr. President, kids today in need positive information to be successful. The republicans are just HATING because they didn’t complain not one time when Bush was DESTROYING THE COUNTRY. They need to sit their A%^& DOWN and be quiet.

Steveo

February 19th, 2010
7:47 pm

Well, I don’t know if it’s Bush’s fault but thank you, Obama supporter, for the evidence that clearly our education system is in need of some help.

Parent

February 19th, 2010
8:08 pm

It would be cool, but it would also be a security nightmare. Just focus on the students and their achievements. He would do better to just remain in Washington and do a satellite feed or send a video.

MariettaGunOwner

February 19th, 2010
8:20 pm

Graduation should be about the student’s accomplishment, Not a photo op for the celebrity wannabe President.

Fuzzy

February 19th, 2010
8:32 pm

Are you people crazy to let this guy do this. Does he just want to brain wash our kids to think like him??? Hasn’t he done enough damage already. Hey Barry smile for the camera NOT.

Lynn

February 19th, 2010
8:34 pm

Didn’t take long for the tea-baggers to come out and protest about the mere thought did it?

34

February 19th, 2010
8:55 pm

President Look-at-me sure is hooked on himself.

Been there for 32 Years

February 19th, 2010
8:56 pm

I seem to remember George W. Bush visiting Harrison High School in Cobb County during his time in office. I don’t remember people being up in arms about that.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=147

Ray

February 19th, 2010
8:58 pm

Those gross tea-baggers are anti-education anyway.

If they had an education they might just realize how stupid they are. After all, what kind of a moron thinks anyone would be able to undo Bush’s disaster of a presidency in less than four years? Not only that, but if they cared to look they would see they paid less in tax last year under Obama than they did any year under Bush. Not that whining about taxes is at all appropriate when we have young soldiers making the ultimate sacrifice for this great county.

At the very least, they really ought quit flying their planes into our American buildings and cease the talk of hanging our Senators.

Been there for 32 Years

February 19th, 2010
9:02 pm

For those of you who don’t want to take the time to read the entire speech, let me share the high points of his visit on February 20, 2003.

“I’ve come to your school to talk about the need for this Nation to assume responsibilities, that we have a responsibility to keep the peace and to protect the homeland, that we have a responsibility to make sure this economy is strong so people can find work. We have a responsibility to nourish the entrepreneurial spirit of America. We have that responsibility. And I want to talk to you about the need for all of us to assume our responsibilities as we go through life.”

“I’m proud to be with the man who’s got one of the greatest jobs in America, the Governor of the State of Georgia. It’s interesting we’re here with Sonny in a school, because I understand his passion for public education. He understands that’s the number one priority of any State. And I believe a result of his leadership and working with the teachers and principals and administrators and parents, education in this great State is going to flourish for every single child. No child is going to be left behind in the State of Georgia.”

Been there for 32 Years

February 19th, 2010
9:03 pm

I guess my last comment was too long…let me share some of the high points in smaller chunks…
“I’ve come to your school to talk about the need for this Nation to assume responsibilities, that we have a responsibility to keep the peace and to protect the homeland, that we have a responsibility to make sure this economy is strong so people can find work. We have a responsibility to nourish the entrepreneurial spirit of America. We have that responsibility. And I want to talk to you about the need for all of us to assume our responsibilities as we go through life.”

Been there for 32 Years

February 19th, 2010
9:06 pm

This part was really amusing; unfortunately the children of the state of Georgia have suffered for his efforts at “leaving no child behind”…
“I’m proud to be with the man who’s got one of the greatest jobs in America, the Governor of the State of Georgia. It’s interesting we’re here with Sonny in a school, because I understand his passion for public education. He understands that’s the number one priority of any State. And I believe a result of his leadership and working with the teachers and principals and administrators and parents, education in this great State is going to flourish for every single child. No child is going to be left behind in the State of Georgia.”

C

February 19th, 2010
9:20 pm

does anyone care what the school’s valedictorian will think? what if he/she wants to make the address?

Northview (Ex)Teacher

February 19th, 2010
9:42 pm

George W. Bush was the only President ever to occupy the office (notice I did not say “was elected to”) in spite of having a criminal record. I also don’t remember much outrage when he brought his peculiar brand of petulant stupidity to Cobb County.

If that was not enough, students at Alpharetta High had Jenna Bush imposed on them, thanks to the efforts of the loathsome and despicable Ashley Widener:

http://www.northfulton.com/1galleryembedbody.lasso?-token.galnumeric=23883.112113&-token.thumbnails=yes

BTW, Jenna’s fruit did not fall too far from the tree:

http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/04/27/bush.daughter/index.html

It’s really strange how repukes don’t mind when right-wingers address students, but get apoplectic at the idea that President Obama (who, unlike Bush, was elected) might want to address their kids. Are you afraid that they might actually begin to think for themselves? What terrifies you so?

All you tea-partiers might want to remember that the Civil War ended a long time ago—and you lost. Posts on this blog are a constant reminder of the darkness that surrounds us here in Georgia.

You betcha

February 20th, 2010
12:02 am

I’m sure he’ll be welcomed with open arms in Georgia, as long as he brings along plenty of erasers.

high school teacher

February 20th, 2010
8:14 am

Narcissism at its finest.

Raheem Jackson esq.

February 20th, 2010
9:46 am

The racism directed at President Obama never fails to astound me. You tea-baggers are telling on yourselves.

Lee

February 20th, 2010
10:50 am

Newsflash: We parents do not care what the keynote speaker, principal, or Valedictorian have to say. We are there to see our children make the walk to receive their diploma. Period.

Lee

February 20th, 2010
11:02 am

@Northview Ex, after reading your diatribe, I think it is a good thing you are an EX-teacher.

Pierce Randall

February 20th, 2010
12:46 pm

Well, before George W. Bush, I think most Presidents addressed public schools.

One might consider that Barack Obama is one of the most admired individuals in the United States. Whatever your political persuasion, you might agree that he would encourage young people who identify with him to stay in school and work hard.

Also, even if you don’t like Obama’s policies in other areas, he’s doing this address as part of a school standards program he and his education secretary Arne Duncan rolled out. If you agreed with the last administration on education policy, it’s worth noting that what Obama’s pushing for isn’t really ideologically-distinct from Bush’s plans. It might work better, but it attempts to address the same concerns that critics of the education system have.

Ernest

February 20th, 2010
2:03 pm

It is OK to disagree with the policies of any sitting president but I believe you ALWAYS respect the office. I hope the school my son attends will attempt to have the president as a speaker.

kinsi

February 20th, 2010
2:23 pm

Good god folks – he’s the President. Show some respect already. I certainly didn’t like Bush, but still respected the office of the President. Y’all complaining about the President, the President of our country, leader of the free world, are just sad. No other word for it – just sad.

what's right for kids?

February 20th, 2010
3:26 pm

Jackson, esq., I don’t see one post that mentions Obama’s race. Could you point one out? I must be missing something.

high school teacher

February 20th, 2010
6:23 pm

If the President wants to address students at a graduation ceremony, I think that’s great. I do not think that there should be an application process to see which school has best met the Presiden’ts criteria. First of all, I see this opportunity as, “Hey! Which high school has worked hard enough to earn the honor of listening to me?” Secondly, who really benefits from this speech – the students or the school? Who is currently held responsible for students meeting these goals – the students or the school? IMO, the answer to both of the above is the school. Therefore, selecting a school based on who has best met the goal of a high number of college bound students is a slap in the face to every other college bound student in the nation.

How about a random selection from schools who show an interest?

Lee

February 20th, 2010
7:08 pm

And then there’s this little nugget:

“The application’s four essay questions focus on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”

Really??

Even though the vast majority of jobs do not require or need a college degree?

I love it when politicians set these lofty goals that will take place long after they are out of office.

Raheem Jackson esq.

February 20th, 2010
7:39 pm

@ what’s right for kids?

Yeah thats right all of the criticism is friendly in nature huh? Don’t you have a tea-bagger meeting to go to?

Tony

February 20th, 2010
7:41 pm

Why do so many people think that a proposal like this has some sort of sinister basis? Regardless of whether my political beliefs line up with the current president, having him come to my school would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of the kids in the area.

Ray

February 20th, 2010
7:55 pm

Nothing but jealousy. GA redneck trash is by nature extremely stupid, fearful, and insecure. They look down on anyone who’s educated, not just the Pres.

That’s why they like Bush – he was one of them.

high school teacher

February 20th, 2010
7:59 pm

Raheem Jackson esq. ,

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is a tea-bagger?

high school teacher

February 20th, 2010
8:26 pm

“Not only that, but if they cared to look they would see they paid less in tax last year under Obama than they did any year under Bush. ”

Ray, and this year I owe taxes to the federal government instead of getting a refund.

Ray

February 20th, 2010
8:55 pm

‘Ray, and this year I owe taxes to the federal government instead of getting a refund.’

You made more. That, or you were able to cheat under Bush.

Please don’t fly your plane into our Federal buildings.

high school teacher

February 20th, 2010
10:42 pm

Ray, I actually made roughly the same as I did the year before. My husband and I paid $800 less in taxes this year than the year before.

Don’t worry; I don’t have a pilot’s license, and I am obviously not as much of a radical as you are or as you think that I am. :)

Ray

February 21st, 2010
7:06 am

high school teacher – how did you make roughly the same, when you were cut 2%, and then essentially another 3% with all the furlough days? Are you in a private school, or in another state?

Anyhow, I’m really not all that radical, just tired of those who are and their ‘debating’ with misinformation.

Philosopher

February 21st, 2010
12:02 pm

When we start teaching our kids to disrespect the President, no matter who that person is, we start the downfall of the country! Disrespect tears asunder the fiber that makes this country great. Teach our kids to disagree…hell, YES. Disrespect…NO! Never before in the history of this country has a school system even considered that they should or that they have the right to, treat a visit from the President of the United States of America (even a buffoon, such as Bush) with anything less than honor. The fact that it has now been allowed to happen, should concern us more than just about anything going on in the country today. If we have no respect for our President, we have no respect for the process that elected him, and ultimately no respect for our country itself. Better wake up, America!

high school teacher

February 21st, 2010
12:43 pm

Ray, we both got a step raise this year to counter the cuts. My husband also picked up another coaching supplement. I’m not protesting paying taxes; I’m just stating that for us personally, we paid the same amount of taxes under Obama’s admin that we did for Bush; it was just spread out differently. I’m not debating with misinformation, just using my personal information.

Sorry to stray off topic.

college and career ready?

February 21st, 2010
10:03 pm

just read an article on education and the president said: “Requires the states to “adopt and certify that they have college- and career-ready standards in reading and mathematics” to be eligible for the federal money.” GA does not a career ready pathway for graduation

David S

February 21st, 2010
10:04 pm

Respect is earned. Nobody is entitled to it just because they won an election. Entitled respect is something a King feels deserving of. Last I checked we don’t have a king. Bush was entitled to no respect and neither is Obama. They are both entitled to harsh criticism for the horrible jobs they have done and are doing as supposed upholders and defenders of the constitution. Only a handful of presidents are undeserving of harsh criticism for their behavior in office and their unconstitutional policies.

A criticism of Obama is certainly not an endorcement of Bush. Free thinking intelligent types can choose between more than the two horrible options offered by the mouthpieces in the democrat and republican parties. Let us hope that the Tea Party movement continues to realize that as well and not get caught up in the us versus them garbage. It is us versus the state that is important.

Northview (Ex)Teacher

February 21st, 2010
10:48 pm

Lee,

So glad to read that you disapprove of me. One of my goals as a teacher was to irritate people like you.

Philosopher

February 22nd, 2010
8:34 am

David S: let’s make it simple…did you expect your parents to earn your respect? Sure hope not! They should be respected (unless grossly abusive) BECAUSE they have the position of parent. They supported you, provided for your needs and security. You have the right to criticize, but not disrespect. Same with the office of President…the people of this country duly elected him. So yes…you should criticize him if you choose, but you should respect him and you should teach your children to do the same. The majority of the people in the country in which you live and accept the benefits and security of living in, chose the President. The king argument is bogus.

Philosopher

February 22nd, 2010
8:48 am

David S: So, did your parents have to earn your respect? Or wasn’t providing home, food and security enough for you? You didn’t pick them and you may have not liked all their rules and policies…and I’m certain you criticized them…but you SHOULD have respected them. Did you not teach your children to respect those in authority? The king argument is bogus. The majority of the people in the country in which you accept security and freedom CHOSE the President…You don’t have to like him, you have every right to criticize, but you should respect him.

what's right for kids???

February 22nd, 2010
12:37 pm

Raheem: I didn’t say that the criticism was friendly. I said that it was not racist. I figure you can’t find anything racist of nature, so you, instead, attempt to insult me.

Ole Guy

February 22nd, 2010
5:52 pm

Reading the tenor in some of these comments, one must wonder if many of you deserve to be in the same company as our President. You may not like the policies…many of them do not sit well with me. However, given the baffoonery and the chicanery of the Bush years, I would imagine Obama’s fiscal choices were quite slim. No one seemed to complain during the 8 years of foolishness under the leadership of a little boy who wanted to be a war-time prez like his daddy…if he couldn’t find a war, then he was going to bygod create one…and he did. Like a bunch of obedient dolts, you cheered support all-the-while saying “but not my son”. It’s only when “things are tough”…boo hoo…that you mindlessly complain like a bunch of spoiled brats. YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME WANNA VOMIT!