There weren't any hair-nets or plastic trays, but the White House did serve the nation's students lunch.
The main course? A heaping helping of encouragement.
The man behind the lunch counter? President Obama.
In an address to America's students Tuesday, the President spoke of his struggles in school, told the stories of Americans (from Michael Jordan to Texas native Jazmin Perez, who went from a non English-speaking family with no college background to become a doctor) and stressed the importance of education.
He asked the nation's students to work hard and put forth effort in their schoolwork so that they may live up to their potential. In turn, he promised to continue working to provide the children with the materials they need to succeed.
Some of the nation's parents, locally and nationally, elected to have their children, well, brown-bag it Tuesday, and skip the President's address. Some even checked their children out of school, or didn't let them go.
This isn't the first time a President has spoken to America's students. President George H.W. Bush addressed the nation's school-age children in 1991; President Ronald Reagan participated in a question-and-answer session, broadcast nationally, with American high school students in 1986.
So, why are some parents so infuriated by President Obama's address? Simply put, politics.
They are worried that Obama's out to "'indoctrinate' school children with 'socialist ideology'" (The Republican Party of Florida, according to PolitiFact.com).
By: Celia Murray
The need for health care reform is real and urgent – the United States is spending $2 trillion a year (almost $8,000 per person), or more than 16 percent of GDP, on health care. We spend more per capita than anywhere else in the world, nearly twice the average of developed nations, and yet, according the World Health Organization, for the period 2006 to 2010, our life expectancy is 38th in the world (behind both Chile and Cuba). The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is higher than that of any other developed country. The WHO determined that the U.S. ranks 37th in the world in overall health care and a dismal 72nd in the world in overall level of health. Medical care debt is the principal cause of personal bankruptcies in this country. Our present system is collapsing under its own weight, with nearly 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, without health insurance. Under the current system, 44,230 Americans lose their health insurance every week. That number translates to 191,670 a month and 2,300,000 a year. The number of uninsured children in 2007 was 8.1 million – or 10.7 percent of all children in the U.S. This country is the only industrialized nation on the face of the planet which does not guarantee health care for all of its citizens.
By: Fred Johnson; Columnist
While reading the Georgia Tech Alumni magazine recently, I found more friends in the Obituary section than in the Alumni News section. One that first got my attention was the death of one of my bosses at Texas Instruments. He was probably the boss that I admired the most in my engineering career. He graduated from tech as an EE two years before me, joined TI three years before me and retired one year before I did (Hopefully my obituary will not follow his that closely).
But it was the obituaries from the classes of the 1930s and 1940s that made the most interesting reading. Almost all of the obituaries included military service during World War II. One was among the first paratroopers to land in Normandy on D-Day; another was among those storming the Normandy beaches. Several flew missions on B-17s as pilots or crew members and others served on Navy ships. One was part of the Manhattan Project and witnessed the detonation of the first atomic device at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, NM. Many of them accomplished those things before graduating from Georgia Tech on the GI Bill.
But it was the other information in their stories that told volumes about the GI Generation, which is also called the Civic Generation. (They are the opposite Baby Boomer Generation which is more self-absorbed and is called the Idealist Generation). One served on the Georgia Natural Resources Board and was named the Conservationist of the Year by the Georgia Wildlife Federation. Others served on the Hapeville Development Authority, as City Commissioner, Mayor, the Georgia Municipal Association, president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, chairman of the advisory board of the Salvation Army. Every US President spanning the 30 years from John F Kennedy through George Herbert Walker Bush was a member of the GI Generation.
By: Dick Hodgetts; Columnist
Most of us recall Jane Seymour in her role as a pioneer Medicine Woman. Lovely Jane could perform a heart by-pass using a Bowie Knife and a deer antler. She made settling the West appear to be a simple process, complete with a free health-care program.
Madison has it own pioneer in the Medical field. Her methods are more thorough, her training has been more rigorous, and she stays with her patients for longer than the hour it takes to run a TV show. Our pioneer is not only a Medicine Woman, she is a Super Mom, Sunday School teacher, Wellness advocate, and now Grandmother. You know her as Dr. Rose Anne Weaver.
You may have seen her walking from her home on North Main to her office, and then hiking up to Morgan Memorial Hospital to perform her rounds. She is an advocate for walking and other healthy life style choices.
Scope. A nice harmless word when attached to other nice harmless words. Microscope. Telescope. But see, some smart folks have created teensy scopes called endoscopes that snake through your body armed with a camera. Then places all nice and private – places formed in your mother’s womb – spots you’ve never seen (or no one has for that matter, thank goodness) because they’re buried in the depths of your innards are broadcast on a 52” flat screen. Surely, not anyone’s most photogenic angle. Throw in a thread-bare hospital gown and shove all remaining self-respect down a shredder.
Last Friday with head high, I dragged my husband through an Athens hospital toward the scoping area. Rounding a corner, we came upon a tiny holding pen. We peered into see hundreds of people lining the walls wearing expressions that looked like an appointment before a firing squad would be welcome news.
I checked in, received my white wristband and found a lone seat. My husband fled out the waiting area to the lobby. If not careful, he is debilitated by the scents, sounds, and sights of a hospital. I encouraged his wandering realizing it best that my transportation home not faint. So sitting there, flipping through my “Runner’s World” trying not to think of tiny cameras, movie screens and ways to act dignified in one of the most undignified positions one might ever find themselves, I glanced at the fellow detainees.
Hospital waiting rooms equalize humanity. Everyone silently praying everything turns out fine for ourselves and the other slouched, uncomfortable souls waiting alongside. Brief glances, shrugs and slight smiles acknowledge membership for the moment a fraternal order that no one volunteered to be rushed. Amongst all the discomfort, we find forgiveness.
Dave Belton: Local board of education member
Every year I write a summary of how Morgan County Schools did that year. As we taste our first cool mornings and SAT numbers finally roll in, it’s time again to evaluate where we stand.
Student population has been growing slowly at about 45 new students per year over the last nine years, from 2930 to 3336 students. Because of the slow growth, the new elementary school in Rutledge has been postponed until at least 2012 in order to conserve tax payer money.
The Primary, Elementary, and Middle School did better on the state-wide CRCT test than ever before. Like last year, they beat the state in every single category. Even more exciting, they raised their “exceeds standards” in nearly every category, and improved their scores in 26 out of 40 categories.
The Primary School scored above 91 percent in every category.
The Elementary School was the best in the entire region! They scored above 90 percent in every category (except for three categories where they scored 87 percent).
The Middle School continues to make the greatest gains, scoring above 92 percent in Math and English, though lower in Science and Social Studies.
As to the High School, they were named 545th out of the 1500 top best schools in America by Newsweek, placing them in the top 2 to 3 percent of all high schools in America.
MCHS continues to sport massive Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. Thirty-seven percent of MCHS seniors took at least one college-level course, and an amazing 21 percent got college credit - which was better than Georgia (16 percent) and the nation (15 percent). Believe it or not, Georgia was ninth in the nation!