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Michelle Obama to parents: Turn off those TVs

October 15, 2009 |  4:14 pm

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Now that we're all up to speed on Meghan McCain's bra cup situation and California First Lady Maria Shriver's "punishment" for illegally talking on a cellphone while driving, we have news about First Lady Michelle Obama's latest thoughts about teachers and schools and parents.

She's penned an essay for U.S. News & World Report in which she warns of a dramatic impending teacher exodus and, like previous first ladies, advocates that parents shut off the video games and TV more often, presumably not when her husband's talking again about healthcare reform. (And no mention of Fox News.)

She also comes out in favor of her husband's $3-billion government program to boost teacher training.

Here are a few excerpts:

We all remember the impact a special teacher had on us -- a teacher who refused to let us fall through the cracks; who pushed us and believed in us when we....

...doubted ourselves; who sparked in us a lifelong curiosity and passion for learning.  Decades later, we remember the way they made us feel and the things they inspired us to do – how they challenged us and changed our lives.....

And when we think about the qualities that make an outstanding teacher – boundless energy and endless patience; vision and a sense of purpose; the creativity to help us see the world in a different way and the commitment to helping us discover and fulfill our potential – we realize: these are also the qualities of a great leader.... 

As the President has frequently said, in a twenty-first century global economy where jobs can be shipped to any place with an Internet connection, and children here in America will be competing with children around the world for the same jobs, a good education is no longer just one road to opportunity – it is the only road.

But the reality is that with each passing year, we are actually losing more and more of our most experienced teachers. More than half of our nation’s teachers and principals are baby boomers. And in the next four years, as many as one third of America’s 3.2 million teachers could retire.....

We need universities to double down on their efforts to prepare teachers, and to improve and expand effective alternative routes to certify teachers. We need to encourage more experienced professionals to consider teaching as the next chapter in their careers.....

We need parents to do their part as well to match that leadership in the classroom with leadership at home.  We need to set limits and turn off the TV; we need to put away those video games and make sure that homework gets done....


You can read the first lady's entire U.S. News article right here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

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