President Barack Obama touched on education issues and schools in his Jan. 21 Inaugural Address in Washington, as did poet Richard Blanco in the piece he read at that day’s ceremonies. In emotional language, both alluded to the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
From Inaugural poem, “One Today” by poet Richard Blanco:
... All of us as vital as the one light we move through, the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day: equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined, the “I have a dream” we all keep dreaming, or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain the empty desks of twenty children marked absent today, and forever. ...
President Barack Obama:
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity—until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”
“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”
“No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future.”
“We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher.”
A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2013 edition of Education Week as Inauguration 2013