WH.gov: The Importance of Education Reform (video)
President Obama speaks about the critical need for education reform and discusses what his Administration has done to raise standards and encourage excellence during a speech to the Urban League. July 29, 2010.
So, yes, our federal government has responsibilities that it has to meet, and I will keep on making sure the federal government meets those responsibilities. Our governors, our superintendants, our states, our school districts have responsibilities to meet. And parents have responsibilities that they have to meet. And our children have responsibilities that they have to meet. (Applause.)
It’s not just parents. It’s the children, too. Our kids need to understand nobody is going to hand them a future. (Applause.) An education is not something you just tip your head and they pour it in your ear. (Laughter.) You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to reach out and claim that future for yourself. And you can’t make excuses. (Applause.)
I know life is tough for a lot of young people in this country. The places where Urban League is working to make a difference, you see it every day. I’m coming from the Southside of Chicago. (Applause.) So I know -- I see what young people are going through there. And at certain points in our lives, young black men and women may feel the sting of discrimination. Too many of them may feel trapped in a community where drugs and violence and unemployment are pervasive, and they are forced to wrestle with things that no child should have to face.
There are all kinds of reasons for our children to say, “No, I can’t.” But our job is to say to them, “Yes, you can.” (Applause.) Yes, you can overcome. Yes, you can persevere. Yes, you can make what you will out of your lives.