Politics

Obama in Miami: Education 'Wins the Future'

With Jeb Bush, president tells students: 'You cannot drop out'
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: March 5, 2011 3:55 AM
Jeb Bushand  Barack Obama

Credit: Shutterstock - Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Speaking to students at Miami Central High School on Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama delivered a dual and sometimes conflicting message that called for more education spending and sweeping budget cuts everywhere else.

After touring the once-failing campus with former Gov. Jeb Bush, Obama hailed Central as an academic success story in progress. After 10 years of receiving D's and F's from the state, Central has pulled its campus grades up.

"Performance has skyrocketed. Graduation rates have gone from 36 percent to 63 percent," Obama reported. "I expect them to be at 100 percent," he added.

In a nod to Bush, Obama said that he and the former governor were appearing together "not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans to prepare students like you for the 21st century economy."

The president linked scholastic performance to "winning the future," saying that more than half the jobs created over the next 10 years will require more than a high-school diploma.

"You can't even think about dropping out," Obama said to a wave of cheers.

While touting billions of dollars in new federal school-improvement grants and a pledge to recruit "a new generation of 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade," Obama talked tough about spending in other sectors.

"Government has been spending more than it takes in, and we are going to have to get serious about spending what we don't need," said the president, who has racked up the biggest budget deficits in the nation's history.

Attempting to balance the books, Obama said his administration eliminated "200 federal programs" and is selling off "14,000 government properties." He included defense and "entitlements" as areas that would receive future cuts.

"But we can't cut spending on education," he vowed to the campus crowd that erupted in cheers.

Though Bush may have provided some GOP cover for the president's exemption, congressional Republicans have a different agenda.

Pointing out that the Constitution makes no mention of a federal role in education, GOP leaders have targeted U.S. Department of Education programs for budget cuts as they try to trim a $1.4 trillion deficit.

Bush agreed that "education is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue," and said he shares the accountability-oriented approach promoted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

But performance-based pay initiatives, the power of teacher unions and problems related to tenure -- none of which was addressed by Obama -- remain fundamental bones of contention between the parties in Florida and nationally.

After his school tour, the president headed to a Democratic Party fund-raiser at the Fontainbleau Hotel Friday night.

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Reach Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.

Comments (7)

Brian
9:37AM MAR 5TH 2011
How about spending money allocated to turtle crossings and pig farmimg and other useless govt funded programs go to our childrens education? Those things are more important than our childrens future? Pork spending is what has ruined us!!
stinkdetectorsounding
8:14AM MAR 5TH 2011
Dear President,
As the old saying goes, "Tricked me once, shame on you. Tricked me twice? Shame on me."
Conrad Fitzhume
7:03AM MAR 5TH 2011
"Pointing out that the Constitution makes no mention of a federal role in education, GOP leaders have targeted U.S. Department of Education programs for budget cuts as they try to trim a $1.4 trillion deficit."

That's a comical statement. After all, the Constitution makes no mention of a federal role in making the wealthiest Americans even wealthier at the expense of the hard working middle class, but the GOP has made it their most important mission.
Chris
1:59PM MAR 5TH 2011
That, sir, was an idiotic statement.
Rebecca Walker
10:51AM MAR 5TH 2011
You can't really be that stupid . . .can you??
Regulas
9:26AM MAR 5TH 2011
Please take your liberal talking points/lies somewhere else.
Conrad Fitzhume
3:43PM MAR 5TH 2011
We're in America 'Regulas', we all are permitted to express our feelings. I just happen not to live in a fantasy world, so I speak the truth. The truth is that the GOP's main concern is to protect and promote the interests of the wealthiest people in our country while destroying the middle class. It's amazing that some folks in the middle class just don't get it.

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