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Two thoughts about President Obama’s speech tomorrow (and my own speech the day after)

Much ado about nothing

I just read the text of President Obama’s hotly-contested speech tomorrow. I encourage you to do the same. Could it be any more innocuous? Whatever happened to waiting to see what happens first and THEN hollering about it? A lot of crying wolf has been going on lately…

If only these opportunities actually existed at scale

I was pleased to see this passage:

What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

I just wish I had more faith in our current schooling system to nurture the problem-solving and critical thinking skills and creativity and ingenuity that the President mentions. Right now I don’t think we’re doing so well in these areas…

On Wednesday I spend the day with 80 or so high school students (juniors and seniors, mostly) in Northwest Iowa. What should I be saying to them about their schools, technology, globalization, and their futures?


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