Wednesday, September 14, 2011

President Obama and his Ohio Visit

President Obama visited Fort Hayes Art and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio yesterday to urge Americans to support his American Jobs Act Bill before Congress.  He wants $25 billion for education construction and improvements.  This is a two-prong approach to helping America by modernizing American public schools and providing work for construction workers.  He wants to help 35,000 public schools across America with rural schools a priority as well as schools run through the Bureau of Indian Education.  He hopes the bill will provide building repairs and technology upgrades which are sorely needed in our public schools.

Then why isn't he speaking at one of these rural schools or a Bureau of Indian Education school?  While I admire Fort Hayes Art and Academic High School and the college prep program it offers, when is President Obama going to go to a really needy rural school or inner city school to speak?  Why is he always speaking and pleading for his bill at "the best of the best" or "la creme de la creme" of public high schools?  When is he going to get down and dirty and really visit a tough public inner city school?  These schools desperately need his attention and help.  These students need his attention, his leadership, and his inspiration more than anyone else.  Or, why isn't he visiting one of the needy rural schools in southern or southeastern Ohio?  This is, and in those tough inner city schools, where real poverty exists in Ohio.  Speaking here is where he would do the most good.

The number of people living in poverty in this nation swelled by 15.1 percent from 2009-2010.  Twenty-two percent of our nation's children live in poverty.  This is twenty-two percent too many.  Fourteen million Americans are out of work and a total of 46 million are living in poverty.  In Ohio, our poverty share is living in the desperate inner cities of Toledo, Dayton and Cleveland.  Some of Ohio's worst poverty are in these three cities.  When are President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Dunn going to visit schools in these cities?  These are the schools that need the rebuilding and technology upgrades the most.

While I admire  and support President Obama's American Jobs Act Bill, and his commitment to bringing it personally to Americans in this nation, he needs to go to the areas of the greatest need in states like Ohio to sell his bill to the American people.  He is living in an ivory tower if he continues to go to schools like Fort Hayes. (And I don't mean that in a racist way.)  The schools in Ohio that desperately need his inspiration are the southern rural schools and the tough inner city schools.

Note:  all statistics in this article taken from the NYTimes for September 14, 2011.