Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

National security priority? Education

By
From page A8 | January 27, 2014 | 2 Comments

They are burning the midnight kilowatts in the West Wing. And they’ll probably be cutting and pasting until President Obama climbs into his limo Tuesday night and drives 16 blocks to the gleaming-white, floodlit Capitol.

The president’s policy and message massagers are frantically making sure all the president’s must-keep themes are still in his 2014 State of the Union text. We can only hope they haven’t overlooked – yet again! – one bold national security priority that could become the capstone of Barack Obama’s presidential legacy.

Truth is, they’ve always understood the urgency. They even had the benefit of hearing an unscripted question that said it all, back in 2010, at a campaign town meeting at George Washington University.

“Mr. President, you have pointed out that U.S. students have fallen from the top 20 nations in math and science and test scores – and jobs and contracts are going overseas,” said Francesca Yabraian, an Agriculture Department employee. “You’ve called education a national priority. But do you think it is time to label education funding a national security priority?”

Exactly! Today, education must be declared a national security priority.

Obama instantly got it and ran with it. “I think it’s a national security priority,” he said. “Look, there has never been a nation on earth that lost its economic edge and maintained its military edge. And the reason we have the most effective military on earth, in the history of the world, is first and foremost because we have unbelievable men and women in uniform who make sacrifices on our behalf every single day.

“But the second reason is that we’ve had the biggest economy in the world that can support this incredible armed forces that we have. And if we start falling behind economically, we will start falling behind from a national security perspective – there’s no doubt about it. And the single most important determinant of how we do economically is going to be the skills of our work force. And you’re exactly right.

“We used to be at the top of the heap when it came to math and science education; we are now 21st and 25th respectively in science and math. . . .  Other countries are making huge investments. China is doubling, tripling, quadrupling the number of college graduates it is generating. . . .  And yet, here we are, losing that first-place position. That is unacceptable.”

Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have undertaken a number of programs aimed at reversing America’s slide in education results. Still, government alone cannot fix what is wrong – but we can.

Four years ago, Obama told educators in a White House speech what South Korea’s president had told him was his biggest education problem. “He told me his biggest challenge in education wasn’t budget holes, it wasn’t crumbling schools – it was that the parents were too demanding. He’s had to import thousands of foreign teachers because parents insisted on English language training in elementary school. The mayor of Shanghai, China . . . told me . . .  teaching is revered (there) and the pay scales are comparable to professions like doctors.”

Duncan noted in a recent speech that while many U.S. teachers come from the bottom third of college graduates, South Korean teachers are selected from the top 5 percent of high school students; they get six months’ training after being hired, are well paid and get bonuses.

A generation ago, Americans were No. 1 in the world in percentages of college graduates. Now America is 12th – South Korea is first. “Both South Korean and U.S. citizens believe that the caliber of teacher matters tremendously,” Duncan said. “. . .  The difference is: they act on their belief. We don’t. We talk the talk, and they walk the walk.”

We, the people, will never be able to form a more perfect union until we rethink our cultural and fiscal education priorities. In this looming national security crisis, our politicians are not our greatest problem – we are.

It might be unstately to end a State of the Union Address with a question, but Obama would do well to conclude Tuesday’s speech by repeating what Duncan bluntly asked:

“I want to pose one simple question to you: Does a child in South Korea deserve a better education than your child? If your answer is no – that no child in America deserves any less than a world-class education – then your work is cut out for you.”

Martin Schram is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. Readers may send him email at martin.schram@gmail.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterJanuary 27, 2014 - 7:36 am

    Said in a fiendish voice, "Mister President, our fiendish international plan to dumb-down the citizenry is working better than we hoped for. But we still need more brainwashing... er, I mean re-education. Let's push harder on Common Core so there is no chance the people will ever wake up to the evil we've done to them. Heee, hee, hee, hee."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensJanuary 27, 2014 - 10:00 pm

    We dumped trillions into the war on terror and the defense department yet the war isn't won after 12 years. We dumped trillions into the war on poverty over the last 50 years yet the poverty rate is still the same. We dumped trillions into a war against the citizens---the war on drugs yet as evidenced by the legaliztion of marijuana, it appears the drugs won. Now Obama wants to dump trillions into education. Are we learning yet?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Solano unemployment inches downward

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Transplant recipients talk about their best gifts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield council candidates weigh in on crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Police release name of woman found dead in Fairfield canal

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Spering, Bertani spar over fighting crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 14 Comments | Gallery

 
Congregation invites public to Easter music, message

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Five homes featured on Symphony Home Tour

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
 
Local woman helps spread Easter joy

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B12 | Gallery

Weather for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B13

 
.

US / World

California farmers to get more water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teen sentenced in Oakland toddler’s killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More Latino than white students admitted to UC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
From Clinton to Obama, many parallels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E to be arraigned in fatal pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Mom and son who died in San Francisco fire ID’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
3 alleged gang members convicted of murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Easter on 4/20, pot holy day; pastors reach out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
White House updating online privacy policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Sudden movement raises alarm in Wyoming slide area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Some countries get Obama, but want his wife, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Military scales down, modifies Guam buildup plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Captain of sunken SKorean ferry arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine crisis: The turning points

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

Cheers, jeers for the week of April 13-19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Here we go again in Sacramento

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Seniors, it’s never too late to do something about your health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Prince reaches agreement with music label

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

‘The Boondocks’ back for final ‘offensive’ season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Sports

Hertl has impressive playoff debut for Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Big innings lift Mustangs over Indians

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ross, Padres beat Cain and Giants 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors to start O’Neal for Bogut vs. Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

NBA playoffs looking more wide-open than expected

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Grizzlies’ G Calathes suspended for 20 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mets trade 1B Ike Davis to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

A’s lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
’40-and-up club’: Ageless Hopkins after more belts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Solano scores in ninth for 2-1 BVC baseball win over Yuba

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
NBA’s Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Judge says American can’t end retiree benefits yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

5 features an Amazon phone might offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 04/19/14

Summerwood features 8 new homes in Suisun

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.27 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3