Obama Jobs Program a “Win-Win” for Students
Obama in Columbus
By Brian Washington
Peter Volker, a high school English teacher, is always looking for “authentic learning” opportunities. With all the new testing mandates, Volker says fitting such opportunities into the curriculum is becoming impossible.
However, he says President Barack Obama helped him out yesterday by visiting his school—Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio.
“It was an opportunity to have a real conversation with students about current events and political rhetoric,” said Volker, who has been teaching at Fort Hayes for 8-years.
But President Obama’s visit also turned out to be an authentic learning experience for educators like Volker—who listened intently as the President talked about how his American Jobs Act will create middle-class jobs that “pay well” and update dilapidated schools.
“We have a nice, modernized campus here at Fort Hayes but all children deserve to have improved school facilities to help them learn and grow,” said Volker. “And if we can create jobs by updating run down schools, it’s a win-win for students and those in the construction industry who can be put back to work.”
The American Jobs Act is also designed to help ensure our nation’s children are not forced into overcrowded classrooms by putting badly needed teachers and other school employees back to work.
“I became a teacher to affect positive change through our children,” said Johnny Merry, who was laid off in 2006 but now teaches Social Studies at Fort Hayes. “The educators I know are hardworking and concerned about children and our public schools. I agree with the President. We need to invest in public education. It’s about time!”
As a magnet public school, Fort Hayes draws students from across the Columbus City Schools district and combines the Arts with a rigorous academic curriculum. The school’s campus is composed of several buildings that date back to the Civil War but have undergone significant upgrades. President Obama’s stop put the school in the spotlight as a national example of what all students attending public schools need and deserve.
“You’ve got computers in every classroom, state-of-the-art graphic design, science labs, a new media center and music rooms,” said the President. “And when you combine that with outstanding teachers and a challenging curriculum, you’ve got the foundation for what you need to learn and graduate and compete in this 21st century economy.”
The American Jobs Act is currently under consideration by lawmakers in Congress, and NEA President Dennis VanRoekel has joined the growing chorus of those urging elected leaders in Washington, DC to pass it.
“There is nothing more urgent for Congress to act on than this plan to create jobs and boost our economy and create opportunity for the nation’s children,” said VanRoekel. “Our members are behind this initiative and will raise their voices in support to members of Congress, who will hopefully put politics aside and make passing this a priority.”
Now is your time to act!! Urge your lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support the American Jobs Act. You can contact your elected leaders by clicking here.