With all the hubbub of September, many of us found ourselves dealing with an unexpected issue -- the decisions of our local school districts not to air President Obama's back-to-school speech. Regardless of your political leaning, we hope you'll agree with us at Edutopia that it's a sad day when society limits the ability of our president to talk to young children, future citizens, about the importance of working hard in school and pursuing dreams.
Will Richardson, a leading education blogger and a member of The George Lucas Education Foundation's National Advisory Council, published a must-read post about the controversy and what it implies about the role of schools. If you haven't read Richardson's post, we encourage you to do so and forward it to others who care about protecting schools as a place where ideas can be presented, debated, and critically assessed -- and where the highest elected official in our country has an opportunity to encourage our next generation to embrace opportunities available to them if they work hard in school.
Many of Edutopia's success stories about public education showcase the very personal stories of students who have turned their lives around through hard work and discipline. Two such examples:
- Terrie Gabe, who worked the night shift, from 11 p.m. to 5:45 a.m., before going to West Philadelphia High School's Academy of Applied Automotive and Mechanical Science for her 7 a.m. class. Gabe went from being a dropout to graduate with straight As and no absences. You can read her inspirational story in "Auto Motive: Teens Build Award-Winning Electric Cars".
- Luis, an 18-year-old son of immigrants who has propelled his learning through new media and community engagement in Oregon. Luis is featured in a video profile as part of Edutopia's Digital Generation Project.
We welcome your continued thoughts, reactions, and stories on Obama's message and how schools can be best positioned for the future. Please share them here.
-- Cindy Johanson, COO