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Senate Proceeding on Jul 29th, 2010 :: 4:56:55 to 5:08:15
Total video length: 10 hours 27 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar Alexander

4:56:49 to 4:57:09( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: mr. president. mr. president, the president of the united states made an important speech this morning. he spoke to the national urban league centennial conference on education. i'd ask unanimous consent the president's remarks be placed in the record. every speech -- the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. alexander: every speech a

Lamar Alexander

4:56:55 to 5:08:15( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

4:57:10 to 4:57:30( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: president makes is important. mr. president, this speech especially is important. i commend the president for his courage, for his vision, and for his -- and for his willingness to undertake the hard work of helping children across this country learn what they need to know and be able to do. and the confidence with which he is doinghat.

Lamar Alexander

4:57:31 to 4:57:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: let me be specific abouthy i say that. number one, the president began with teachers. he extolled teachers. he said that he wanted to lift them up as high as he could. he wanted them to be on the front pages of magazines and for us to dignify them in every way that we could. but he didn't back away from tackling the most important and most difficult challenge that

Lamar Alexander

4:57:53 to 4:58:14( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: any of us who have dealt with education reform have found, and that is way of how do we reward outstanding teachers? and especially how do we tie that reward to student achievement? in other words, what can we do to help reward and encourage those outstanding men and women who help our children learn, particularly our children who

Lamar Alexander

4:58:15 to 4:58:35( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: are having the hardest time learning? all of us know that a great teacher makes a great difference. the president said that himself. each of us in the united states senate knows that. but any of us who have over the last several years spent time trying to find ways to reward outstanding teachers know how hard it is. i worked on it, mr. president,

Lamar Alexander

4:58:36 to 4:58:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: in 1983 when tennessee became the first state to reward outstanding teaching. not one state at that time paid one teacher one penny more for being a good teacher. you can make more money for being around a long time. you can make more money for getting a degree. but you didn't make any more money at all if your children were succeeding. and for awhile that worked

Lamar Alexander

4:58:58 to 4:59:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: because we were able to capture women. they had very few options, and they became saints in the classroom, and they were our teachers. but in the 1970's and the 1980's and 1990's, women had many options and theyook them. in the companies where they went to work they were paid more for excellence, they made good salaries. as a result, it became more

Lamar Alexander

4:59:19 to 4:59:39( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: difficult to attract and keep outstanding men and women in our classroom. governor graham who later was senator, was trying the same thing in florida. governor clinton, later the president of the united states, was trying many of the same ideas in arkansas. those were in the 1980's. every education meeting i go to comes down to the same point. after you get past the role of

Lamar Alexander

4:59:40 to 5:00:01( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the parent, the teacher is the center of it. whether a child is a gifted child or whether a child comes from a home where he or she doesn't have breakfast or whether a child comes from a home where he or she has never been around a book until they're seven, whether a child needs to be in school 12 hours a day or

Lamar Alexander

5:00:02 to 5:00:24( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: 8, or saturdays or not, the teacher at the center of the education in that school is the indispensable product and best and most important part of a child's ability to achieve and to learn. and what the president has done through the teacher incentive fund that he has continued to encourage and through his leadership on the subject, deserves credit and support from

Lamar Alexander

5:00:25 to 5:00:45( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: all americans, and i, for one, am here to offer him that. secondly, he talked about charter schools. he's not the first to do that either. i remember his education secretary on my last week in office in 1993, i wrote a letter to all the superintendents in america to encourage them to try charter schools. at the time, they were just the invention of a few democratic

Lamar Alexander

5:00:46 to 5:01:06( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: liberal reformers in minnesota. there may be a dozen charter schools at the moment. but charter schools were simply startover schools. it was simply saying to a faculty, let's startver. what if we took off the rules and the regulations and gave you the freedom to do with the children that are presented to you what they need? so if you need to start at 7:00 in the morning and finish at

Lamar Alexander

5:01:07 to 5:01:28( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: 7:00 at night, do it. if you need two-hour classes, do it. if you need to have 200 days a year instead of 180 in schl, do that as well. if you need to learn during easter holidays, do that. and who are the beneficiaries of the charter schools? when they work, the beneficiaries are most often t children who come from the most difficult circumstances.

Lamar Alexander

5:01:29 to 5:01:49( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i can point to a charter school in memphis i visited three years ago where it was easter holiday. it was -- the children there were ninth or tenth graders. instead of being on easter holiday, they were studying for their advanced placement course in biology at the freshman or sophomore level.

Lamar Alexander

5:01:50 to 5:02:10( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: there wasn't any other school in tennessee where children of that age were studying advanced placement biology, especially during the easter week break. so president obama has done what president bush did, what president clinton did, what vice president gore did, what i've done, what president clinton -- wh many others have done, which is to say, let's have

Lamar Alexander

5:02:11 to 5:02:31( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: independent public charter schools and give teachers the free to do what they know how to -- freedom to do what they know how to do. as american shanker, the american head of association of teachers used to say, if we have have master plumbers, we can have master teachers, and we can

Lamar Alexander

5:02:32 to 5:02:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: pay them as well. and let's give them the free tom to do what -- freedom to do in their own good judgment what they know to do. the third thing the president talked about is high standards. that's also not a new idea, but he's advanced it down the road very w. higher standards are an -- very well.

Lamar Alexander

5:02:53 to 5:03:15( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: higher standards are a very good indication of kindergarten through 12th grade. i used to say look at all the new automobile plants coming endure on state. to get a job there, you need to know a lot more than your parents or grandparents.

Lamar Alexander

5:03:16 to 5:03:36( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: you have to know algebra. in other words, if we're going to compete in the world and keep our high standard of living. while a lot of work has been done through achieve, the president has advanced the idea of common standards very well in the last 18 months and he's done it in the right way. he hasn't said okay, i'm the president, we'll write it from washington. that would have killed it. or at least i hope would have

Lamar Alexander

5:03:37 to 5:03:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: killed t. he didn't say that. he said, let's create an environment in which states can make a difference and make their own choices. and states in surprisingly large numbers are beginning to do that in terms of reading and math. the fourth area the president spoke about -- and this is really his own initiative -- is the race to the top. this is infusing one of the hardest things that's possible

Lamar Alexander

5:03:58 to 5:04:19( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: to infuse in public education and that is excellence. we have a democratic sewed. we're usually interested in -- we have a democratic society. we're usually interested in leve. if we have five things, each goes to one person. what we're ud to doing in government, and that goes to private education as well, is to say let's reward excellence.

Lamar Alexander

5:04:41 to 5:05:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: secretary of education. i said when arne duncan was appointed that he might be the president's best appointment. i still think that. that's not because i agree with eve arne duncan's recommended. in fact, i think he was completely wrong on the student loan proposal. inning his proposal on gainful

Lamar Alexander

5:05:03 to 5:05:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: employment which is, with all rrntion a little wha -- with all respect, is a little whacky. but he is an eellent leader in education, and he has a big heart and he's worked in a bipartisan way and he's gotten results that are as good as anybody could have possibly gotten on some of the toughest subjects facing our country. so the president and arne duncan

Lamar Alexander

5:05:24 to 5:05:44( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: deserve our applause and support for their efforts. and we'll have differences of opinion about how much we can spend and when we can spend it, but if the goal is to reward outstanding teaching, to create more charter schools, to help states raise standards in an environment where they're not told to do so by washington but create an environment to do it

Lamar Alexander

5:05:45 to 5:06:05( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: themselves, if the goal is to infuse excellence into public high education by challenging states to do better, then we should be for that and we should do it together. i think president obama has the opportunity in public higher education to -- to do what president nixon did in china. it may be easier for a

Lamar Alexander

5:06:06 to 5:06:26( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: democratic president to -- to make these changes or to lead the country in these changes than it would be for a republican president, just as it was easier for a republican president in the early 1970's to cause us to have an opening to china. that's a large claim to make but i think it's an equally important goal. about the only thing i disagreed

Lamar Alexander

5:06:27 to 5:06:48( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: with today in the president's speech was this. he said teachers were the most important part of a child's education. i think a parent is and i think does too. i know where he was starting. i think he would agree. i think parents and teachers are 90% it was and it starts with the parent. the reason i think he would agree with that is because he

Lamar Alexander

5:06:49 to 5:07:09( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: had good parents and he is a good parent and a very good example to the rest of the country. anyone who's read his biography, "the audacity of hope" knows the story of his mother getting him up at 4:00 in the mother in indonesia and teaching him math and to read and telling him buster, it's not any fun for me so get busy and learn. which he learned very well.

Lamar Alexander

5:07:10 to 5:07:30( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: and his example as a good parent and as a good student is exactly the kind of example we need for students and parents across our country. so this is a time when we have difns of opinion on many -- differences of opinion on many issues. i'll have some differences of opinion with the president on education, as i mentioned, but i

Lamar Alexander

5:07:31 to 5:07:51( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: have no lack of enthusiasm for the importance of his leadership on k-12 education, on rewarding outstanding teaching, on giving teachers the freedom to create schools that -- in which they can use their common sense, on creating higher standards, on the race to the top, on setting a good example for -- as a good

Lamar Alexander

5:07:52 to 5:08:12( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: parent. and i thought it was important perhaps especially for a republican senator who's spent a number of years working on these issues as education secretary and president of a yeump university and governo governor to come to the floor and say good work, mr. president, an excellent

Lamar Alexander

5:08:13 to 5:08:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: address, and on those broad issues and themes, you have my full support. thank you, mr. president.

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