Obama’s speech contest

Public high schools can compete for the chance to book President Obama as commencement speaker.

“Applications will be judged based on the school’s performance and dedication to providing students an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices,” the White House said. Schools are encouraged to include data to substantiate their claims of achievement and a two-minute video about the school’s culture.

The application requires schools to submit essays describing what makes their school unique, how the school encourages personal responsibility, how the school prepares students for college or career, and how the school promotes academic excellence.

The speech contest annoys Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet.

Obama’s contest isn’t really offering students a chance to compete for his oratory skills; it’s the adults in the building.

I am now envisioning school administrators across the country already making frantic plans to put together the best contest package they can, advertising their plans to get kids to graduate.

Strauss wonders if the winner of the Top High School Commencement Challenge will be a high school that ties teacher pay to student test scores as in the Race To The Top initiative.

Applying does sound like a lot of work for the very slim chance of being chosen. The deadline is March 15.

Via This Week in Education.

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  1. you know for a liberal he sure loves competitions.

  2. Whatever your political beliefs are, can you imagine if the POTUS spoke at your graduation? What a memory that would be! The competition itself would be a great opportunity for a school to come together and try to achieve something truly memorable. I am sure that the First Lady would join in as well and speak at one of the runner up schools. Perhaps our living ex-presidents could speak at the runners up as well? That would be a pretty cool competition for high school students and staffs to throw themselves behind.

  3. Mr. W, I agree. Obama sure does love competitions! It is great for the hares in the group, but what about the turtles? The label alone of his signature education policy, “Race to the Top”, guarantees that only a few will “win”. Whatever happened to slow and steady wins the race?