What Obama should have said

Last week, President Barack Obama spoke to high school students in Arlington, Va., about the importance of working hard in school. Unfortunately, concerns about the speech’s partisan content forced the president to water down his message and turned a potentially inspiring speech into a reminder about turning off the XBox.  Here’s what the president should have said:”When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday — at 4:30 in the morning.   Now, I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, ‘This is no picnic for me either, buster.’She taught me a lesson I hope to pass along to you.Education is the key to the door of opportunity. But it doesn’t just happen.After all, circumstances may dictate where we start the race, but it’s individual hard work that determines where we finish.  It’s that idea, the idea of equality of opportunity — that with hard work any American can succeed — which was the crux of the promise the founders of this country sought to extend to its citizens.But not all American students have seized this incredible privilege. Over the years, the passion and dedication to learning has waned. The United States might lead the world when it comes to military might, but it no longer commands the lead when it comes to math, science or reading, and trends show usslipping in the international rankings. A recent report found that in math, America’s 15-year-olds ranked 32 in the world.This country will not continue to lead the world without a renewed commitment to its education system.The growing acceptance of mediocrity is like an army of termites eating through the bedrock of American schools. It feeds ravenously on the laziness, falling standards and widespread denial of the value of hard work present in the minds of the students sitting in our classrooms. I promise to do my part — too many tests, too little money and too few teachers have posed real challenges to the education system and in the next few years, I hope to turn all of those things around. But there’s something I need from each of you: a profound promise to shun the status quo and work as hard as you can to be excellent.Because for every American student, excellence is not only in sight — it’s within reach. With all of this in mind, take some time and make yours up. Just remember: to write your own destiny, you’re going to need to know how to write. Thank you, good luck and God bless America.”Cue Hail to the Chief.