Following are highlights from President Bush’s Jan. 29 State of the Union Address and the Democratic response from House Minority Leader Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.
“Good jobs begin with good schools, and here we’ve made a fine start. Republicans and Democrats worked together to achieve historic education reform so no child in America is left behind. I was proud to work with members of both parties. Chairman John Boehner, Congressman George Miller, Senator Judd Gregg. And I was so proud of our work that I even had nice things to say about my friend Ted Kennedy. The folks at the Crawford coffee shop couldn’t believe I would say such a thing, but our work on this bill shows what is possible if we set aside posturing and focus on results.”
“There’s more to do. We need to prepare our children to read and succeed in school with improved Head Start and early-childhood-development programs. We must upgrade our teacher colleges and launch a major recruiting drive with a great goal for America: a quality teacher in every classroom.”
“My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years, 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbors and your nation. ... to join the new USA Freedom Corps. The Freedom Corps will focus on three areas of need: responding in case of crisis at home, rebuilding our communities, and extending American compassion throughout the world. … We need mentors to love children, especially children whose parents are in prison, and we need more talented teachers in troubled schools. USA Freedom Corps will expand and improve the good efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to recruit more than 200,000 volunteers.”
“We want to work together to recruit high-quality teachers and invest more in our schools while demanding more from them. We want to say to every student who wants to go to college and every worker who wants to update their skills: The first $10,000 of your education should be tax-deductible.”
“The more we are able to turn that renewed sense of purpose into a new call for serviceto encourage more Americans, young and old, to get involved, join the AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, the military, and other endeavorsthe more we’re going to make our nation a model for all the good things that terrorists hate us for: hope, opportunity, and freedom.”
SOURCES: The White House, Rep. Gephardt’s office
A version of this article appeared in the February 06, 2002 edition of Education Week as Speaking of Education