In a historic acceptance speech before 70,000 screaming, stomping supporters, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama declared that it is “time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education.”
Obama got an especially resounding round of applause when he called for the creation of a “new army of teachers” that would be paid higher salaries. He also said that, in exchange, he’ll “ask for higher standards and more accountability.”
The U.S. senator from Illinois didn’t mention the No Child Left Behind Act, the main federal K-12 education law that requires schools to test students and move toward a goal of all students being proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.
The nearly 45-minute speech, in which Obama declared “enough!” to the practices of the President Bush’s administration over the last eight years, was heavy on foreign policy, the economy, and his signature theme of change.
His address was preceded by speeches from former Vice President Al Gore, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Susan Eisenhower, a granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Singers Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder spiced up the night.
But perhaps the most said about education came about 30 minutes before Obama’s speech, when Teresa Asenap, a teacher from New Mexico, told the crowd in brief remarks that Obama would invest $10 billion in early education and additional funds to make college affordable.
She said: “Our schools don’t have the resources they need to meet the high standards of No Child Left Behind.”