President’s Annual School Address a Bitter Apple

iStock_000014018645XSmallToday was President Obama’s third annual address to America’s schoolchildren.

While his address was delivered to students at Benjamin Banneker High School in Washington, D.C., Obama’s speech was targeted toward as many classrooms nationwide as will make it available.

As opposed to previous years, this address caused little advance controversy and his remarks [reprinted here from his prepared remarks distributed in advance to the media] were fairly innocuous:

Whether we fall behind or race ahead in the coming years is up to you.

It starts with being the best student you can be.

America needs your passion, your ideas and your energy right at this moment.

Through the boilerplate, however, Obama made a few subtle references to his goal of making big government even bigger.

One thing that stood out was the “goal” he set for students to “continue your education after high school.”  While Obama did not specifically limit this goal to college, those who choose that option and need a loan to cover the costs of making Obama proud will now — thanks to a provision that found its way into the Obamacare bill in 2010 — have to deal with the federal government as the loan provider.

Another was that “We’re making sure that our country’s colleges and universities are affordable and accessible.”  Just last month, the plaintiffs in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to seek a review of race-based admissions standards that administrators felt were necessary to ensure their schools were accessible.

Rather than making sure students find the best fit for themselves, will the Obama Administration instead stick up for bean-counting quotas?  It’s likely that the White House’s definition of access will continue to prop up an affirmative action status quo that causes many promising students to drop out because rules regarding “access” have led them to schools beyond their potential.

Obama also exhorted students to use their skills to “figure out a way to use the sun and wind to power a city,” making sure to note that existing and reliable fossil fuels that efficiently power them now pollute too much for his liking.  Too bad Solyndra is no longer hiring.

P21StacySwimpProject 21 member Stacy Swimp found it odd that Obama chose to give his address to students from Washington, D.C.  As Stacy points out, Obama and his liberal allies in Congress tried to hobble the potential of D.C. students by allowing a popular school choice initiative in the nation’s capitol to be phased out (it was reinstated earlier this year by action in the U.S. House of Representatives).

Stacy notes:

President Obama stood before America’s students — and in person before a select group of students in Washington, D.C. — to proclaim that schools are meant to help them acquire skills to pursue their future passions.  He further assured students that: “You’ve also got people all across this country — including me — working on your behalf.”  Yet Obama was a leading voice in opposition to the popular school voucher program in the nation’s capital that gave the children of poor families an option to put their kids in better performing schools in pursuit of acquiring those necessary skills.

President Obama’s educational policies appear more aligned with the standards demanded by teachers’ unions, placing special interests ahead of the best interests of children.  He is working to advance a political agenda.  He is not working for disadvantaged families whose children desperately need a choice above and beyond failing government-run schools in order to achieve American exceptionalism.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.