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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nation Builders

President Obama's State of the Union impressed me because he put teachers first. Literally, teachers were the first point of his speech. He informed us that South Korea calls its teachers, "Nation Builders."
Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Wow. This is the first time I can remember when any president ever put education first and foremost in such an important speech. I also agree that we need a system that helps us cull those not suited for teaching. His emphasis on not only completing high school but also college is crucial to fuel our future. Everyone always speaks about our future but rarely couple it with the function of education in that role. It was very obvious to me that we as a nation we must put education first so we can better our infrastructure, our economy, our military, and the state of the union. It made me proud to be a teacher, a son of teachers, the brother of two teachers, and the father of two Nation Builders.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew speaks with Brian Lehrer.

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