Daily Archives: November 9, 2008

>Refocus the Federal Role to Build Stronger Schools

>We are encouraged that President-elect Obama named education as one of his highest domestic priorities. It should be. Education is the engine for the country’s long-term economic success. The federal investment in our schools should be larger and smarter, reflecting a shift from the current “top-down”, micro managerial approach, to one that assists local school districts and states in preparing all students to succeed in the 21st century economy.

NSBA believes President-elect Obama should use the megaphone of the presidency to articulate a national vision for education – one that addresses the correlation between strong schools in every community and the nation’s overall economic health; the critical role that parents, community-based and other groups can play in strengthening schools; and, how the federal government can best help states and local school boards – where the responsibility for educating students rests – in providing our students with the skills, knowledge and tools they will need to be college- and career-ready in the global economy in which we now compete. These elements should be reflected in a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with an accountability framework that recognizes student academic growth based on multiple measures of learning, not limited high-stakes tests, and acknowledges local decision-making and innovation.

We are optimistic the Obama administration will not “leave the money behind,” and will instead put forward budgets that prove children and their education are a priority: by funding Title I to meet the needs of all eligible students; by making good on Congress’ long-ago pledge to fund 40 percent of special education costs; and by investing in early childhood education programs that make it possible for all children to arrive at school ready to learn.

NSBA Statement on President-elect Obama’s victory

Anne L. Bryant
National School Boards Association Executive Director

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Filed under Anne L. Bryant, Barack Obama, Education, National School Boards Association, President-Elect, Stronger Schools

Refocus the Federal Role to Build Stronger Schools

We are encouraged that President-elect Obama named education as one of his highest domestic priorities. It should be. Education is the engine for the country’s long-term economic success. The federal investment in our schools should be larger and smarter, reflecting a shift from the current “top-down”, micro managerial approach, to one that assists local school districts and states in preparing all students to succeed in the 21st century economy.

NSBA believes President-elect Obama should use the megaphone of the presidency to articulate a national vision for education – one that addresses the correlation between strong schools in every community and the nation’s overall economic health; the critical role that parents, community-based and other groups can play in strengthening schools; and, how the federal government can best help states and local school boards – where the responsibility for educating students rests – in providing our students with the skills, knowledge and tools they will need to be college- and career-ready in the global economy in which we now compete. These elements should be reflected in a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with an accountability framework that recognizes student academic growth based on multiple measures of learning, not limited high-stakes tests, and acknowledges local decision-making and innovation.

We are optimistic the Obama administration will not “leave the money behind,” and will instead put forward budgets that prove children and their education are a priority: by funding Title I to meet the needs of all eligible students; by making good on Congress’ long-ago pledge to fund 40 percent of special education costs; and by investing in early childhood education programs that make it possible for all children to arrive at school ready to learn.

NSBA Statement on President-elect Obama’s victory

Anne L. Bryant
National School Boards Association Executive Director

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Filed under Anne L. Bryant, Barack Obama, Education, National School Boards Association, President-Elect, Stronger Schools

>Obama’s First 100 Days Scream for Boldness, Not Piddling Plans

>Within hours of Barack Obama’s election, naysayers chastened caution. Don’t go too far, they inveighed. Build trust slowly with restrained, moderate, and gradual actions, they admonished.

In other words: Start with piddling plans.

Basically, they want to abort hope — kill it before it has a chance.

That is all wrong after an election in which it’s believed that a higher percentage of Americans voted than at any time in the past 40 years; a win that brought tears to the eyes of even hardened reporters; a result that drew joyful citizens into streets across the country to celebrate, a balloting that swept even larger majorities of Democrats into the U.S. House and Senate.

This moment during which the nation is suffering great economic peril pleads for political valor. This moment screams for boldness.

Troubled times demand greatness. Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that. He’s the reason U.S. presidents are judged by the sum of their accomplishments in their first 100 days in office.

When FDR was inaugurated in 1933, the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. He didn’t waste time tinkering. After 100 days, he’d given the country the Emergency Banking Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Federal Emergency Relief Act and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Obama may not inherit a Great Depression, but he’ll take the oath during an intense recession. Look at the news that arrived the same week as his election: unemployment rose to 6.5 percent after 10 straight months of jobs losses totaling more than 1.2 million; the stock market dropped 1,000 points in 48 hours after the worst October showing in two decades; auto makers travelled to Capitol Hill begging like hobos for handouts to stave off bankruptcy, two dozen major retailers revealed sales declines, most double digit, and the New York Times reported hospitals strained as they register fewer paying patients and increasing charity cases.

These problems won’t be solved with timidity. In his first press conference after the election, Obama said resolving the economic crisis is his top priority. He said, in fact, “I will confront the economic crisis head on.” No weak-heartedness suggested there.

He said a new president can restore confidence and advance an agenda for the middle class. That is exactly what FDR did with the combination of legislation and fireside chats.

During this brief press conference, Obama got it right, emphasizing aid to the middle class. He said it is essential to pass a rescue plan that would create jobs and extend unemployment benefits. He wants aid to state and local governments so they don’t increase taxes or furlough workers.

The federal government should help both small businesses and the huge auto industry, which provides jobs directly and indirectly through its suppliers.

The $700 billion bailout must be reviewed, he said, to ensure that it is stabilizing markets, that it’s not unduly rewarding the Wall Street risk-takers who caused the crisis, and that it’s helping families avoid foreclosure.

In addition, he said it’s essential to implement policies to grow the middle class such as investing in clean energy technology, resolving the nation’s health insurance dilemma, and providing tax relief for working families.

These are the correct priorities. And his plans are audacious. Which means he needs our help.

He called for bipartisan cooperation in accomplishing these goals. But he’ll need more than that. He will need the kind of support he got in those weeks just before Election Day.

All of those who voted for him, all of those who want to keep hope alive, and all of those who want real change must demand both houses of Congress and both political parties work with Obama to accomplish it. Those who believe in real change must make it clear that they won’t stand by and allow courageous action to be reduced to faint-hearted baby steps.

On election night, Obama told the crowd in Chicago that the victory was theirs: “I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me.”

Then he warned of what is ahead:

“You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.”

With more than 10,000 volunteers across the country, the United Steelworkers campaigned hard to help get Obama on that Chicago stage to make that speech. We will back him as he works to fulfill his promises of what is a New Deal for the new century. And we urge every American who wants real change to join us to ensure his success, the nation’s success.

Leo W. Gerard
United Steelworkers International President

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Filed under Barack Obama, Democrats, Economic Crisis, First 100 days, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Loe W. Gerard, Middle Class, United Steelworkers International

Obama’s First 100 Days Scream for Boldness, Not Piddling Plans

Within hours of Barack Obama’s election, naysayers chastened caution. Don’t go too far, they inveighed. Build trust slowly with restrained, moderate, and gradual actions, they admonished.

In other words: Start with piddling plans.

Basically, they want to abort hope — kill it before it has a chance.

That is all wrong after an election in which it’s believed that a higher percentage of Americans voted than at any time in the past 40 years; a win that brought tears to the eyes of even hardened reporters; a result that drew joyful citizens into streets across the country to celebrate, a balloting that swept even larger majorities of Democrats into the U.S. House and Senate.

This moment during which the nation is suffering great economic peril pleads for political valor. This moment screams for boldness.

Troubled times demand greatness. Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that. He’s the reason U.S. presidents are judged by the sum of their accomplishments in their first 100 days in office.

When FDR was inaugurated in 1933, the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. He didn’t waste time tinkering. After 100 days, he’d given the country the Emergency Banking Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Federal Emergency Relief Act and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Obama may not inherit a Great Depression, but he’ll take the oath during an intense recession. Look at the news that arrived the same week as his election: unemployment rose to 6.5 percent after 10 straight months of jobs losses totaling more than 1.2 million; the stock market dropped 1,000 points in 48 hours after the worst October showing in two decades; auto makers travelled to Capitol Hill begging like hobos for handouts to stave off bankruptcy, two dozen major retailers revealed sales declines, most double digit, and the New York Times reported hospitals strained as they register fewer paying patients and increasing charity cases.

These problems won’t be solved with timidity. In his first press conference after the election, Obama said resolving the economic crisis is his top priority. He said, in fact, “I will confront the economic crisis head on.” No weak-heartedness suggested there.

He said a new president can restore confidence and advance an agenda for the middle class. That is exactly what FDR did with the combination of legislation and fireside chats.

During this brief press conference, Obama got it right, emphasizing aid to the middle class. He said it is essential to pass a rescue plan that would create jobs and extend unemployment benefits. He wants aid to state and local governments so they don’t increase taxes or furlough workers.

The federal government should help both small businesses and the huge auto industry, which provides jobs directly and indirectly through its suppliers.

The $700 billion bailout must be reviewed, he said, to ensure that it is stabilizing markets, that it’s not unduly rewarding the Wall Street risk-takers who caused the crisis, and that it’s helping families avoid foreclosure.

In addition, he said it’s essential to implement policies to grow the middle class such as investing in clean energy technology, resolving the nation’s health insurance dilemma, and providing tax relief for working families.

These are the correct priorities. And his plans are audacious. Which means he needs our help.

He called for bipartisan cooperation in accomplishing these goals. But he’ll need more than that. He will need the kind of support he got in those weeks just before Election Day.

All of those who voted for him, all of those who want to keep hope alive, and all of those who want real change must demand both houses of Congress and both political parties work with Obama to accomplish it. Those who believe in real change must make it clear that they won’t stand by and allow courageous action to be reduced to faint-hearted baby steps.

On election night, Obama told the crowd in Chicago that the victory was theirs: “I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me.”

Then he warned of what is ahead:

“You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.”

With more than 10,000 volunteers across the country, the United Steelworkers campaigned hard to help get Obama on that Chicago stage to make that speech. We will back him as he works to fulfill his promises of what is a New Deal for the new century. And we urge every American who wants real change to join us to ensure his success, the nation’s success.

Leo W. Gerard
United Steelworkers International President

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Filed under Barack Obama, Democrats, Economic Crisis, First 100 days, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Loe W. Gerard, Middle Class, United Steelworkers International

>Bush: Obama win ‘a triumph of the American story’

>The Hill – Leading the News

President Bush on Saturday used his first post-election radio address to praise Democratic President-elect Barack Obama, saying that he “represents a triumph of the American story.”

Bush added that the Illinois senator’s victory is a “testament to hard work, optimism, and faith in the enduring promise of our nation.”

The president noted that the wartime transition of power will be the first in four decades and pledged that making it as seamless is possible would be a “priority for the rest of my time in office.”
Bush also pointed to other challenges facing Obama.

“Our country faces economic challenges that will not pause to let a new president settle in,” he stated, adding, “We’re in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us — and they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people.”

The president detailed steps he had taken to make sure that the transition is successful, such as “fully informing” Obama of any important decision he makes.

“Taken together, these measures represent an unprecedented effort to ensure continuity throughout the executive branch,” he stated.

Obama, in his first address as president-elect, also had kind words for Bush, saying that the current president “graciously offered his full support and assistance in this period of transition.

“Michelle and I look forward to meeting with him and the First Lady on Monday to begin that process,” Obama stated. “This speaks to a fundamental recognition that here in America we can compete vigorously in elections and challenge each other’s ideas, yet come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done.”

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Filed under 2008 Presidential Campaign, American Story, Barack Obama, President Bush

Bush: Obama win ‘a triumph of the American story’

The Hill – Leading the News

President Bush on Saturday used his first post-election radio address to praise Democratic President-elect Barack Obama, saying that he “represents a triumph of the American story.”

Bush added that the Illinois senator’s victory is a “testament to hard work, optimism, and faith in the enduring promise of our nation.”

The president noted that the wartime transition of power will be the first in four decades and pledged that making it as seamless is possible would be a “priority for the rest of my time in office.”
Bush also pointed to other challenges facing Obama.

“Our country faces economic challenges that will not pause to let a new president settle in,” he stated, adding, “We’re in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us — and they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people.”

The president detailed steps he had taken to make sure that the transition is successful, such as “fully informing” Obama of any important decision he makes.

“Taken together, these measures represent an unprecedented effort to ensure continuity throughout the executive branch,” he stated.

Obama, in his first address as president-elect, also had kind words for Bush, saying that the current president “graciously offered his full support and assistance in this period of transition.

“Michelle and I look forward to meeting with him and the First Lady on Monday to begin that process,” Obama stated. “This speaks to a fundamental recognition that here in America we can compete vigorously in elections and challenge each other’s ideas, yet come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done.”

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Filed under 2008 Presidential Campaign, American Story, Barack Obama, President Bush

>Obama Says Economic Stimulus Is First Task

>The Hill – Leading the News

President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that the nation is facing “the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime,” and a new economic stimulus package is a top priority.

In addition to the stimulus package, Obama said an extension of unemployment benefits tops his list for when he is sworn in — if these two items are not passed and signed by President Bush beforehand.

Speaking in his first press conference since being elected, Obama was flanked by his transition economic advisory board as Friday morning brought news that unemployment numbers had jumped and about 1.2 million jobs have been lost this year.
Obama cautioned that the country “only has one government and one president at a time,” but he said he is confident that he can restore confidence in the economy. Obama said he wants a new stimulus package “sooner rather than later,” and if Bush and Congress fail to pass one in a lame-duck session it “will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.”

Obama said a second economic stimulus package is “long overdue,” and he will “act swiftly” to “confront this economic crisis head-on.”

With unemployment now at 6.5 percent nationwide, Obama warned that solving the economic crisis will not be a fast process, but he said a new president can do an enormous amount to restore confidence.”

Obama also stressed that the auto industry needs help to preserve manufacturing jobs, and he said that extending unemployment benefits as a top priority.

The White House has said repeatedly that the president is “open” to ideas for plans that would help stimulate the economy, but administration officials have also expressed skepticism about the various stimulus package proposals floating around Capitol Hill.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Friday morning that “we have right now to deal with the economy as it is.”

“Some of the ideas that we’ve seen, things like infrastructure spending, for example, have an exceedingly limited impact on the economy in the short term,” Fratto said.

The president-elect said he is grateful for Bush’s efforts to reach out to him, and he said he would go into his Monday meeting at the White House “with a spirit of bipartisanship.”

Obama also said that future first lady Michelle Obama will scout D.C. schools for their young daughters. And as for the puppy Obama promised his girls on election night — they are looking for a dog that is both allergy-friendly and rescued from the pound.

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Filed under Barack Obama, economic advisory team, Economic Stimulus Package, leading the news, President-Elect, The Hill, unemployment