by Andrea Frascione, staff-writer
Conservative critics will look for any excuse to accuse the liberals, specifically President Obama, of having socialist tendencies. In reaction to the President’s recent speech urging children to stay in school, Michael Leahy, spokesman for the conservative grassroots Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, commented, “(The speech is) Obama-centric. It’s not focused on education but on the worship of Barack Obama.”
Whether this interpretation is founded or not, the facts are undeniable: until now, drop-out rates across America were steadily rising due in part to the economic crisis, leaving more and more families destitute. But since last week, the tables seem to be turning for the better. Enrollment in Washington, D.C. public schools for one reached 44,000 – within a few hundred of administrators’ goal for this semester. The nationwide hope is that this is indicative of positive things to come.
Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee’s office reported that “annual student enrolment had dropped by more than half since 1980” but is clearly on the rise now with neighbouring Fairfax county having totalled 170,000 students last year, Montgomery county with 140,000 and Prince George with 127,000.
In addition to moving registration dates ahead by a couple of months this year, from July to April, a major student recruitment campaign was initiated in order to lure kids back to school. Bus, radio and metro ads featuring the tagline “Rediscover DCPS” dominated the city this past summer. No doubt also partially responsible for this sudden influx is the new leader of our country.
Generally associated with minority groups, high school dropouts have been prevalent in states such as Virginia, where positive multi-cultural influences were previously lacking. For this, among other reasons, it was high time we had a mixed-race president: someone for inner-city kids to look up to, and someday, aspire to become.
“At this defining moment in our history, preparing our children to compete in the global economy is one of the most urgent challenges we face. We need to stop paying lip service to public education, and start holding communities, administrators, teachers, parents and students accountable. We will prepare the next generation for success in college and the workforce, ensuring that American children lead the world once again in creativity and achievement.”
As proclaimed on Obama’s Organizing for America section of his website, this Presidency’s goals for education are: improving elementary school teachers and classrooms by employing the ‘No Child Left Behind’ dogma, ensuring funding goes to those schools in greatest need; making post-secondary education (trade schools) more accessible and affordable; investing in early childhood education, putting money and training into Head Start and other such pre-kindergarten programs.
Let’s all hope, this Presidency succeeds where previous ones have failed.