Political Headlines June 6, 2013: President Barack Obama Announces Broadband-for-Schools Project at North Carolina Middle School





Obama Announces Broadband-for-Schools Project at NC Middle School

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-6-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama on Thursday called for wider access to high-speed Internet in schools, prodding the Federal Communications Commission to work toward an aggressive goal that he first proposed in 2008.

“In a country where we expect free WiFi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?” Obama asked during a visit to Mooresville Middle School outside of Charlotte, N.C….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 6, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Mooresville Middle School, Mooresville, North Carolina About Bringing America’s Students into the Digital Age & Technology



Bringing America’s Students into the Digital Age

Source: WH, 6-6-13

President Barack Obama views student projects created on laptops during a tour at Mooresville Middle SchoolPresident Barack Obama views student projects created on laptops during a tour at Mooresville Middle School in Mooresville, N.C., June 6, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Update: Read President Obama’s remarks in Mooresville here

Today, in Mooresville, North Carolina the President is announcing a bold and transformative education initiative to breathe life into the classroom of the 21st century. The goal of the President’s ConnectED initiative is to bring high-speed Internet connections to 99 percent of America’s students – which he is calling on the FCC to do within five years….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Mooresville Middle School — Mooresville, NC

Source: WH, 6-6-13

Mooresville, North Carolina

3:03 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  (Applause.)  Hello, Mooresville!  (Applause.)  Hello, Mooresville.  It is good to be back in North Carolina.  (Applause.)  Now, first of all, I want to thank my staff for being smart enough to schedule a visit right before school lets out.  (Laughter.)  Because that means everybody is in a good mood.  (Laughter.)  However, Principal Tulbert told me that if I wanted to visit, I had to follow school rules.  And since we just recited the Pledge of Allegiance, let me say that, “It’s always a great day to be a Red Imp.”  (Applause.)  I gather some of you are going to be Blue Devils next year.  (Applause.)  Being an Imp is okay, but I guess being a Devil — (laughter.)

I want to thank Maureen for the wonderful introduction, but more importantly, for the great work that she and all the staff at this school are doing.  I could not be more impressed with the teachers and the administrators.  So give it up for them.  Students, clap for your teachers.  (Applause.)  You may not realize how lucky you are to have great, dedicated teachers, but as a parent, I realize how important that is.  And so we can’t thank them enough.

I want to make sure everybody knows that we’ve got one of the finest Secretaries of Education we’ve ever had in Arne Duncan, who’s here.  (Applause.)  Your Mayor, Miles Atkins, is in the house.  (Applause.)  And Superintendent Edwards is here, who’s doing such great work.  So give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  So I want to thank you for inviting me here today.  I know it’s a little warm in here, as it always is in a school gym.  But I was spending a lot of time talking to the students, and they were showing me such incredible work that I got kind of carried away.

I’ve come here to Mooresville to announce an important step that we’re taking to grow our economy and to reignite the engine that powers our economy — and that’s a rising and thriving middle class where everybody has opportunity.

Over the past four and a half years, we have been fighting back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, which cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes and the sense of security that they’ve worked so hard to build.  And North Carolina got hit worse than a lot of states.

But thanks to the grit and the determination of the American people, folks are starting to come back.  Our businesses have created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 38 months; 530 [thousand] of those jobs are new manufacturing jobs that help us sell goods made in America all around the world.  We’re producing more of our own energy.  We’re consuming less energy from other countries.  The housing market and the stock markets are rebounding.  Our deficit is shrinking.  People’s retirement savings are growing.  The American auto industry has come roaring back.

So we’re getting traction.  The gears to the economy are turning.  We’re starting to make progress.  But we’ve got to build on that progress.  Because while the economy is growing, there’s still a lot of families out there who feel like they’re working harder and harder but can’t get ahead.  And the middle class has to be prospering — not just folks at the very top.  That’s got to be our focus:  a growing economy — (applause) — we’ve got to have a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs.  That’s got to be the North Star that guides all of our efforts.

Now, what that means — I said this in my State of the Union address — every day, we’ve got to ask ourselves three questions as a nation.  Number one, how do we make America a magnet for good jobs?  Number two, how do we make sure our workers, our people, have the skills and education they need to do those jobs?  And then, number three, how do we make sure that those jobs pay well so that hard work leads to a decent living?

But the reason I’m here today is because you are helping to answer that second question:  How do we make sure Americans have the chance to earn the best skills and education possible?  That’s why I came to Mooresville.  Because at a moment when the rest of the world is trying to out-educate us, we’ve got to make sure that our young people — all you guys — have every tool that you need to go as far as your talents and your dreams and your ambitions and your hard work will take you.  (Applause.)

So that’s the spirit that’s reflected in the motto of your school district — “every child, every day.”  It’s that fundamental belief that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, every child can learn.  Every child can succeed.  Every child, every day, deserves that chance.  We’ve got an obligation to give every young person that chance.  (Applause.)

And that means making sure we’ve got the best teachers and giving those teachers support and paying them what they deserve.  (Applause.)  Yes.  All the teachers say, amen.


THE PRESIDENT:  It requires parents who are more active and involved.  Parents, school is not a passive thing where you just dump off your kids, they come back and somehow automatically they learn.  You’ve got to be involved in the education process.  It requires smarter schools that are safer places to learn.  And in an age when the world’s information is a just click away, it demands that we bring our schools and libraries into the 21st century.  We can’t be stuck in the 19th century when we’re living in a 21st century economy.

And that’s why, today, we’re going to take a new step to make sure that virtually every child in America’s classrooms has access to the fastest Internet and the most cutting-edge learning tools.  And that step will better prepare our children for the jobs and challenges of the future and it will provide them a surer path into the middle class.  And, as a consequence, it will mean a stronger, more secure economy for all of us.

Specifically, today, I am directing the Federal Communications Commission, which is the FCC, to begin a process that will connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband Internet within five years.  Within five years we’re going to get it done.  (Applause.)

Now, those of you here at Mooresville understand why this is important, but I’m speaking to a larger audience, so I want to explain why this is important.  Today, the average American school has about the same bandwidth as the average American home, even though obviously there are 200 times as many people at school as there are at home.  Only around 20 percent of our students have access to true high-speed Internet in their classroom.  By comparison, South Korea has 100 percent of its kids with high-speed Internet.  We’ve got 20 percent; South Korea 100 percent.  In countries where — in a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?  Right?  (Applause.)  Why wouldn’t we have it available for our children’s education?

So the good news is, here in Mooresville, you’ve committed yourself to this cause.  Starting in the third grade, as all of you know because you’ve lived through it, every student in the district gets a laptop and high-speed, wireless Internet in the classroom.

And I just saw the ways that it’s changing how you learn.  You don’t just write papers and take tests.  You’re working together on videos and presentations and movies and poetry.  Your high school Spanish class might Skype with students in Barcelona or Buenos Aires.  One student proudly said, “We’re able to work on more projects and homework outside of class.”  Now that’s not normally something teenagers brag about.  (Laughter.)  But that’s exactly the attitude that’s going to help you succeed and help your country succeed.

And as I was learning in talking to some of the teachers here, it’s helping the teachers, too.  Because if a student is falling behind, a teacher is seeing it in real time.

Did somebody fall down?  One thing you guys got to do, by the way — bend your knees a little bit when you’re standing.  If you stand up straight — I’m just giving you a tip so you don’t faint — (laughter) — which happens all the time, and it’s really embarrassing.  (Laughter.)  But if you already did, you should sit down.

But it gives teachers the ability to see in real time what students need help, who is falling behind, and then offer extra help.  If you’ve already mastered a lesson, you can move on to the next one.  So as one teacher said, “The thing I’m most proud of is not the technology, it’s the relationships I can build with the students that I teach.”

Now, here at this school, this has only been going on for a few years.  But so far, the results have been remarkable.  Graduation rates are up.  Last year, out of 115 school districts in North Carolina, you ranked in the bottom 10 in the amount of money you spend per student, but you ranked number two in student achievement.  Number two.  (Applause.)  So you’re spending less money getting better outcomes.  And around the country, educators have started to take notice.  So many people want to see this school for themselves that there’s a waiting list for tours all the way into 2014.

But here’s the thing:  As special as what you’ve done is, I don’t want this success to be restricted to one school or one school district.  There is no reason why we can’t replicate the success you’ve found here.  And imagine what that will mean for our country.

Imagine a young girl growing up on a farm in a rural area who can now take an AP biology or AP physics class, even if her school is too small to offer it.  Imagine a young boy with a chronic illness that means he can’t go to school, but now he can join his classmates via Skype or FaceTime and fully participate in what’s going on.

Imagine educators spending fewer hours teaching to a test, more time helping kids learn in new and innovative ways.  Imagine more businesses starting here and hiring here in this area, in North Carolina, because they know for a fact that we’ve committed ourselves to equipping all of our kids with better skills and education than any place else on Earth.  That’s what we need.  (Applause.)

So over the next five years, we’re going to partner with private companies to put people to work laying fiber optic cables to our schools and setting up wireless connections in our schools with speeds 10 to 100 times faster than what most schools have today.  We’re going to work with states to give teachers who want to use these technologies in the classroom the professional development that they need, because I was talking to Ms. Tulbert and she said, for all the teachers here, it took some adaptation to get used to these new technologies.

Once all these classrooms are wired for superfast Internet, that means a big new market for private innovation — America’s companies who created the computers and smartphones and tablets that we all use —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s okay.  This happens.  They’ll be all right.  Just give them a little space.  That’s why we’ve got the medics here.  They’ll be okay.

Oh, teachers give me some tips here.  I’ve lost their attention.  (Laughter.)  All right, everybody.  Right over here.

So what we’re going to be able to do is to get companies to compete to create affordable digital devices designed specifically to these new connected classrooms.  I want to see a tablet that’s the same price as a textbook.  (Applause.)  I want to see more apps that can be instantly updated with academic content the day it’s available, so you don’t have old, outdated textbooks with student names still in them from years ago.  These are the tools that our children deserve.

And there’s no reason we can’t do all this.  If you think about the history of America, we united a continent by rail.  We stretched a network of highways from sea to shining sea.  We brought light to dark and remote areas.  We connected the world through the Internet, through our imagination.  All these projects created jobs.  All these projects grew our economy.  They also unified the country and they are unifying the world.  And this project we’re talking about today can do the same thing.  I am determined to see it through on behalf of our kids.  (Applause.)

And for those of you who follow politics in Washington, here’s the best news — none of this requires an act of Congress.  (Applause.)  We can and we will get started right away.  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  Look, there are all kinds of things I do need Congress to do, and I want to work with them everywhere I can.  But where we’ve got an opportunity to just go ahead and do something that’s going to help our young people, help our teachers, help our education system, help this economy, help our middle class, help to create jobs, we’ve just got to go ahead and do it.  (Applause.)  This is something we have to do for the sake of our kids and our future.

But there are other things that I’m going to be working with Congress to do that will improve our education system on behalf of our kids and our future.  Because if we can bring our kids and our schools into the digital age, you can’t tell me we can’t start improving our early-childhood education system and making high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  (Applause.)

You can’t tell me that we can’t find the wherewithal to hire even more good teachers in science and math and technology and engineering.

You can’t tell me that we can’t rethink and redesign our high schools, or partner with colleges and businesses to put our young people on the path of jobs — not just today’s jobs, but tomorrow’s jobs.

We can make sure that middle-class families aren’t priced out of a college education.  We can make sure that interest rates on federal student loans don’t double for students and parents at the end of this month.  (Applause.)  I want to work with Democrats and Republicans to keep those rates low.

How many students here expect to go to college?  I expect all of them to raise their hand.  (Applause.)  So we’ve got to make sure that college is affordable for every young person, and that’s going to require some help from Congress.

But we have to give every child, every day, the shot at success that they deserve.  Every day.  (Applause.)  FDR once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”  And as long as I’m President, I’m going to keep fighting with everything I’ve got to build a better future for our young people and to give them a chance to build their own future.  That’s how we’re going to strengthen our middle class.  That’s how we’ll secure America’s future for generations to come.  That’s what I’m going to fight for as President of the United States.  That’s why I’m so proud of all of you here at Mooresville.

Congratulations, everybody.  Have a great summer.  God bless you.  God bless America.

3:22 P.M. EDT

Full Text February 7, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at 2012 White House Science Fair



President Obama Hosts the White House Science Fair

Source: WH, 2-7-12

President Obama Speaks to Samantha Garvey

President Barack Obama hosts the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President talked with Samantha Garvey, 18, of Bay Shore, N.Y., about her environmental sciences project examining the effect of physical environment and predators on a specific species of mussel, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama hosted the second-ever White House Science Fair, featuring research and inventions from more than 100 students representing 30 student teams. From robots in the Blue Room to rockets in the Red Room to marshmallow cannons in the State Dining Room, projects showcased the talents of America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors, and innovators.

President Obama Speaks to Taylor Wilson
President Barack Obama hosts the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 7, 2012. Taylor Wilson, 17, of Reno, Nevada conducted research on novel techniques for detecting nuclear threats and developed an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and highly sensitive system capable of detecting small quantities of nuclear material. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After viewing some of the displays and talking with students about their work, the President addressed students, parents, and teachers in the East Room.

“When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” said President Obama. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my Administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects.”

The fact is, not enough students are studying subjects like science, math, and engineering to fill the jobs of tomorrow. A report released yesterday by the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology found that one million additional graduates with so-called STEM degrees (Science, Technology. Engineering and Math) are needed over the next decade to fill the growing number of jobs that require these skills.

The President announced several new initiatives to increase the number of students studying STEM subjects, and to prepare the 100,000 math and science teachers we need to teach our future engineers, inventors, and innovators, including:

  • A priority on undergraduate STEM education reform in the President’s upcoming budget, including a $100 million investment by the National Science Foundation to improve undergraduate STEM education practices.
  • A new K-16 education initiative jointly administered by Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to improve math education
  • Commitments from private sector groups and coalitions to do more to get students excited about STEM-related
  • New policies to recruit, support, retain and reward excellent STEM teachers, along with an $80 million investment in the President’s upcoming budget tohelp prepare effective STEM teachers.
  • A new $22 million investment from the philanthropic and private sector to complement the Administration’s teacher preparation efforts.

For more information:


White House Science Fair

President Obama invites bright young people from across the country to show off their skills at the 2012 White House Science Fair.

President Barack Obama demos Joey Hudy's Extreme Marshmallow  Cannon

President Barack Obama demos Joey Hudy’s Extreme Marshmallow Cannon, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 2/7/12

Remarks by the President at the White House Science Fair

East Room

11:53 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you, everybody.  Everybody have a seat.

Well, welcome to the White House Science Fair.  (Applause.)  It is — I just spent some time checking out some of the projects that were brought here today, and I’ve got to say, this is fun.  It’s not every day that you have robots running all over your house.  (Laughter.)  I am trying to figure out how you got through the metal detectors.  I also shot a marshmallow through a air gun, which was very exciting.  (Laughter.)

Science is what got several of our guests where they are today, so I just want to make a couple of introductions.  We’ve got a real-life astronaut and the head of NASA, Charles Bolden, in the house.  (Applause.)  We have the Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson is here.  (Applause.)  The Director of the National Science Foundation Subra Suresh is here.  (Applause.)  My science — there’s Subra, over here — my science advisor, John Holdren, is in the house.  (Applause.)  We’ve got a couple of people who’ve dedicated themselves to making science cool for young people.  We’ve got Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  (Applause.)

Now, it is fitting that this year’s fair is happening just two days after the Super Bowl.  I want to congratulate the New York Giants and all their fans.  (Applause.)  I just talked to Coach Coughlin; I’m looking forward to having the Giants here at the White House so we can celebrate their achievements.  But what I’ve also said — I’ve said this many times — is if we are recognizing athletic achievement, then we should also be recognizing academic achievement and science achievement.  If we invite the team that wins the Super Bowl to the White House, then we need to invite some science fair winners to the White House as well.  (Applause.)

Now I’m going to talk about how great all of you are in a second.  But before I do, I want to give the parents a big round of applause because they work hard to help you succeed, and I know this is their day.  They’re really proud of you.  As a parent, I know that seeing your kids do extraordinary things brings the greatest happiness that a parent can have.  So congratulations to all the parents of all these incredible young people.  (Applause.)

But parents aren’t the only ones who helped you get this far.  Every one of you can think of a teacher, or maybe a couple of teachers, without whom you would not be here.  So I want you to promise that the next time you see those teachers, that you give them a big thank you, not just for yourselves but also from me.  Because teachers matter.  They deserve our support.  And I want to make sure that we are constantly lifting up how important teachers are to making sure that not only you succeed, but this country succeeds.  So give teachers a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, as I was walking around the science fair, I was thinking back to when I was your age.  And basically, you guys put me to shame.  (Laughter.)  What impresses me so much is not just how smart you are, but it’s the fact that you recognize you’ve got a responsibility to use your talents in service of something bigger than yourselves.

Some of you, that means developing new products that will change the way we live.  So Hayley Hoverter — where’s Hayley?  There she is, right over here — invented a new type of sugar packet that dissolves in hot water.  It’s flavorless, it’s colorless, and potentially could save up to 2 million pounds of trash each year — and that’s just at Starbucks.  (Laughter.)   So MasterCard has already awarded her $10,000 to help turn her idea into a business.

Some of you are here because you saw a problem in your community and you’re trying to do something to solve it.  Benjamin Hylak — where’s Benjamin?  There’s Benjamin right here — was worried that folks at his grandmother’s senior center were getting lonely.  So he built a robot with a monitor and a video camera, so it’s like a moving Skype.  And it moves around the center, and it allows seniors to talk to their kids and their grandkids, even when they can’t visit in person.  So inventions like Benjamin’s could make life better for millions of families.

For some of you, the journey you took to get here is just as inspiring as the work that you brought with you today.  There’s a rocketry team from Presidio, Texas — where’s my team here?  Where are you?  Stand up, guys.  Stand up.  This is part of the fourth-poorest school district in the state of Texas.  And I was told that teachers cooked food to sell after church, supporters drove 200 miles to pick up donuts for bake sales, they even raffled off a goat — (laughter) — is that right?  Just so they could raise enough money for the rocketry team to compete.  And the majority of the kids at the school are ESL, English as a second language.  And the presentation they made could not make you prouder.  So way to go.  (Applause.)

There’s a group of young engineers from Paul Robeson-Malcolm X Academy.  And nobody needs to tell them the kinds of challenges that Detroit still faces.  Where’s my team from Detroit?  In the house — there they are.  Stand up.  (Applause.)  They believe in their city, and they’re coming up with new ideas to keep Detroit’s comeback going.

And there’s Samantha Garvey — where’s Samantha?  Just saw Samantha.  There she is.  Stand up, Samantha.  (Applause.)  Samantha spent years studying mussel populations in the Long Island Sound.  And when she learned that she was a semifinalist for the Intel Science Talent Search, when she found this out her family was living in a homeless shelter.  So think about what she’s overcome.  She wants to, by the way, work maybe for NOAA or EPA.  So this is Dr. Lubchenco, she’s the head of NOAA.  (Laughter.)  Lisa Jackson, right there, head of EPA.  (Laughter.)  You might just want to hook up with them before you leave.  (Laughter and applause.)

The young people I met today, the young people behind me — you guys inspire me.  It’s young people like you that make me so confident that America’s best days are still to come.  When you work and study and excel at what you’re doing in math and science, when you compete in something like this, you’re not just trying to win a prize today.  You’re getting America in shape to win the future.  You’re making sure we have the best, smartest, most skilled workers in the world, so that the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root right here.  You’re making sure we’ll always be home to the most creative entrepreneurs, the most advanced science labs and universities.  You’re making sure America will win the race to the future.

So as an American, I’m proud of you.  As your President, I think we need to make sure your success stories are happening all across our country.

And that’s why when I took office, I called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, math, technology and engineering.  Let’s train more teachers.  Let’s get more kids studying these subjects.  Let’s make sure these fields get the respect and attention that they deserve.

But it’s not just a government effort.  I’m happy to say that the private sector has answered that call as well.  They understand how important it is to their future.  So today, led by the Carnegie Corporation, a group of businesses and foundations is announcing a $22 million fund to help train 100,000 new science and math teachers.  A coalition of more than 100 CEOs is expanding innovative math and science programs to 130 sites across the country.  And other companies are partnering from — everybody from Will.i.am to Dean Kamen — to make sure we celebrate young scientists and inventors and engineers, not just at the White House, but in every city and every town all across America.

And many of these leaders are here today, and I want to thank them for doing their part.  We’re going to do everything we can to partner to help you succeed in your projects.  And I’m proud to announce that the budget I unveil next week will include programs to help prepare new math and science teachers, and to meet an ambitious goal, which is 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering and math over the next 10 years.  That is a goal we can achieve.  (Applause.)  That’s a goal we can achieve.

Now, in a lot of ways, today is a celebration of the new.  But the belief that we belong on the cutting edge of innovation — that’s an idea as old as America itself.  I mean, we’re a nation of tinkerers and dreamers and believers in a better tomorrow.  You think about our Founding Fathers — they were all out there doing experiments — and folks like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, they were constantly curious about the world around them and trying to figure out how can we help shape that environment so that people’s lives are better.

It’s in our DNA.  We know that innovation has helped each generation pass down that basic American promise, which is no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try.  So there’s nothing more important than keeping that promise alive for the next generation.  There’s no priority I have that’s higher than President — as President than this.

And I can’t think of a better way to spend a morning than with the young people who are here doing their part and creating some unbelievable stuff in the process.  So I’m proud of you.  I want you to keep up your good work.

I’m going to make a special plea to the press — not just the folks who are here, but also your editors — give this some attention.  I mean, this is the kind of stuff, what these young people are doing, that’s going to make a bigger difference in the life of our country over the long term than just about anything.  And it doesn’t belong just on the back pages of a newspaper; we’ve got to lift this up.  We’ve got to emphasize how important this is and recognize these incredible young people who are doing things that I couldn’t even imagine thinking about at 5th grade or 8th grade or in high school.

And so pay attention to this.  This is important.  This is what’s going to make a difference in this country over the long haul.  This is what inspires me and gets me up every day.  This is what we should be focusing on in our public debates.

And as for all the folks who are here, don’t let your robots wander off anywhere.  (Laughter.)   All right?

Thank you, everybody.  Appreciate it.  Congratulations.  (Applause.)

12:07 P.M. EST

%d bloggers like this: