President Barack Obama will speak to America's schoolkids today. The White House has posted his prepared remarks here.
Overall theme: "But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed."
"Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is."
"No matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it."
"This isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future."
"We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country."
"But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying."
"Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future."
"That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them."
"But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try."
"No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork."
"Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new."
"And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country. The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best."
All presidents--Republican or Democrat--should open up the school year this way.
From top to bottom, it's a great speech.
It's a great message.
It is not partisan in any way, shape, or form.
It's embarrassing that the President of the United States had to "clear" his speech with the media and public beforehand by releasing it early.
I hope that school districts short-sighted enough to give into the pressure from the extreme-right and not show the speech live will rethink their stance and show it to students later.
It's a message all students should hear.
Good for people like former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and former First Lady Laura Bush for supporting the President on this.
For all you knuckle-draggers that screamed at your local school officials about showing the speech or kept your children home so they did not have to watch the speech: you are morons, plain and simple. Absolute morons. Hopefully your children will not be permanently tainted by your ignorance and our country will not suffer from scores of children raised by morons like you.