Archive for September 8th, 2012

Weekly Address of President Obama: Coming Together to Remember September 11th

Posted on September 8, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

This week, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It’s a time to remember the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children we lost, and the families they left behind. It’s a chance to honor the courage of the first responders who risked their lives – on that day, and every day since. And it’s an opportunity to give thanks for our men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed, sometimes far from home, to keep our country safe.

This anniversary is about them. It’s also a time to reflect on just how far we’ve come as a nation these past eleven years.

On that clear September morning, as America watched the towers fall, and the Pentagon burn, and the wreckage smoldering in a Pennsylvania field, we were filled with questions. Where had the attacks come from, and how would America respond? Would they fundamentally weaken the country we love? Would they change who we are?

The last decade has been a difficult one, but together, we have answered those questions and come back stronger as a nation.

We took the fight to al Qaeda, decimated their leadership, and put them on a path to defeat. And thanks to the courage and skill of our intelligence personnel and armed forces, Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again.

Instead of pulling back from the world, we’ve strengthened our alliances while improving our security here at home. As Americans, we refuse to live in fear. Today, a new tower rises above the New York skyline. And our country is stronger, safer and more respected in the world.

Instead of turning on each other, we’ve resisted the temptation to give in to mistrust and suspicion. I have always said that America is at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates – and we will never be at war with Islam or any other religion. We are the United States of America. Our freedom and diversity make us unique, and they will always be central to who we are as a nation.

Instead of changing who we are, the attacks have brought out the best in the American people. More than 5 million members of the 9/11 Generation have worn America’s uniform over the past decade, and we’ve seen an outpouring of goodwill towards our military, veterans, and their families. Together, they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them. We’ve ended the war in Iraq and brought our troops home. We brought an end to the Taliban regime. We’ve trained Afghan Security Forces, and forged a partnership with a new Afghan Government. And by the end 2014, the transition in Afghanistan will be complete and our war there will be over.

And finally, instead of turning inward with grief, we’ve honored the memory of those we lost by giving back to our communities, serving those in need, and reaffirming the values at the heart of who we are as a people. That’s why we mark September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Because we are one American family. And we look out for each other – not just on the difficult days, but every day.

Eleven years later, that’s the legacy of 9/11 – the ability to say with confidence that no adversary and no act of terrorism can change who we are. We are Americans, and we will protect and preserve this country we love. On this solemn anniversary, let’s remember those we lost, let us reaffirm the values they stood for, and let us keep moving forward as one nation and one people.

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Weekly Address of Gov. Paul LePage: “Students First” Agenda Under Attack

Posted on September 8, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Listen here.

It is truly amazing to me as I see in situation after situation that when it comes to education, we are debating the needs of adults and administrators over the needs of students.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

The new school year is just beginning across Maine and we continue to work here in Augusta to advance an education agenda that puts students first.

Our students-first agenda, though, is under attack.

Just this past weekend, two newspaper articles addressed two different, but related, education issues – both about our efforts to give families and students the best possible options in education. The first issue was superintendent transfers, in which two superintendents can agree on letting a student from one school district go to school in another. The other was about the state’s digital learning efforts – a plan for making sure that our students have access to online and virtual learning opportunities to support their education.

In both cases, our education policy was taken to task because of a perception that what we are doing somehow hurts school boards, superintendents or taxpayers. And yet nobody was talking about our core goal: what is best for the students.

I would like to talk about one of those articles and the real facts.

Digital learning is one form of choice that can benefit students. For some reason, Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen has been taken to task for seeking the advice of national experts in this area. The newspaper charged that we let that group write our state policy. There’s only one problem: we don’t have a state policy on digital learning yet.

In fact, a stakeholder group was assigned by the Legislature to take up this task, and the group held its first meeting last week. We are a long way from having a digital learning plan for this state. And we badly need one. We are a rural state, and a lot of times smaller school districts can’t offer certain courses, so they turn to online options for their students.

School districts around the state have been asking for guidance on this issue because they have hundreds of students who take online courses now. We have worked with a national advocacy group on some key guidelines, things that just make common sense. Such as: All students should have access to online learning options. Online learning providers should be of high quality, and their courses should be aligned to Maine’s learning standards.

We have to work out details, such as whether we’ll require every teacher, no matter where they teach from, to have Maine certification, or if we’ll arrange for reciprocity with other states, and on what terms. These are far from determined, and are just the kind of thing that the group will be discussing. When they are done, either they or our Department of Education, or the Education Committee itself, will propose legislation that will be discussed in public. Instead of worrying about who wrote the language for not-yet-existent proposals, critics should be worrying about whether those ideas are good for our students. That should be the only litmus test.

Furthermore, the newspaper lied saying that my campaign was paid by an out of state company to push virtual learning. This is a bold face lie.

Despite the misinformation being circulated, we are hard at work building a system of education that is focused on what is best for the student, which is why I am extremely disappointed that a newspaper would use its space to fabricate an issue where none exists; and, more importantly, to stand up in support of the needs and wants of administrators over the best interests of students. It’s time we put more focus on students’ needs first, and less on the wine and cheese elitists who are okay with SOME students having access to expanded educational opportunities like digital learning, but not ALL students. I believe ALL students and ALL families should have access to great learning opportunities, not simply the rich.

I wish our students and teachers a great school year and urge all Mainers to drive carefully now that school is back in session.

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