Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rant #82: Educating The Doubters

President Obama will be giving a speech today which is directed at students in our country's schools. He will stress education, staying with your studies even when times are tough, and he is describing staying with your education as a duty as an American.

That should be it on this story, but of course, naysayers feel the need to add in their own two cents to this speech.

They claim that the President will be pushing a socialist agenda with the speech, and also pushing his health care plan. He has steadfastly said that this speech is directed at students, and will not contain anything having to do with subjects not having to do with education.

The White House even posted the text of the speech online so that everyone can get a clear view of what he is going to say.

Why do people look for things when they aren't there? Other Presidents have given speeches like this, including most recently the original President Bush. There was nary a word on agendas when Bush made his speech. Why are so many people up in arms on the Obama speech?

Obviously, the honeymoon is over for Obama and many Americans.

However, what they should be up in arms about is the "Get Schooled: You Have the Right" television special that will be broadcast tonight on a number of cable networks, including Nickelodeon and TV Land. Its airing is timed to coincide with the speech, and will air when kids are home from their studies.

The guests on the show talk about the role education has played in their lives. This is a good concept, but the guest list ... well, I think they could have picked better people.

Did you see who will be on the show? Among the guests are Kelly Clarkson, LeBron James, and Bill Gates.

Each one of them circumvented the normal credo of "the more education you have, the more chances you will have in life" to achieve lasting fame in their chosen fields.

I had no idea about Kelly Clarkson's background, so I had to go on Wikipedia to find out about this, I learned that her mother was a first grade teacher. So far, so good ... but then I read on ...

"Upon high school graduation, Clarkson was offered full scholarships to The University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas, and Berklee, but decided against college because she had "already written so much music and wanted to try it on her own," and she figured "you're never too old to go to college."

Now, let's follow the bouncing ball ... LeBron James is a spectacular basketball player, perhaps the NBA's best overall player. However, educationally, he has just a high school education. If he went through normal channels, he would have gone to college after high school, played for a major school, and then get drafted by an NBA team. No, he didn't go this route. He was so good as a high school player that he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as a teenager. As it is, since he had such a high profile in high school, I wonder how much education he actually received during those years.

And as for Bill Gates ... he is the perfect example how oftentimes education can stand in the way of success. I don't believe he has a college degree--although he did go to Harvard for a while but did little more than work on their computers and did not regularly attending classes--but he went on to great success in the computer field as the founder of Microsoft. If he would have gone for a college degree, who knows what might have happened? You might not even have the ability to read this.

Thus, I think that in these cases, the wrong people are on this show. Should we just settle for high school educations? Is that what it has come to? And the high school education that Clarkson, James and Gates received ... how much did all the studying, test taking, and learning really add to their success?

Yes, people should be up in arms, but not about what the President is doing today.

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