Sen. Nelson to the Florida Education Association
October 23, 2008
First, I’d like to take a moment to few moments to recognize you, our teachers.
Each day you to go to inspire and educate our kids with the knowledge and valuable life skills they'll need to succeed. Your passion, diligence and commitment to the children of Florida is truly commendable.
Education is the foundation for every building block of our country.
If we fail to educate our youth, our industries will crumble and innovation will stop altogether.
In 1961 President Kennedy noted that “our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.
Our requirements for world leadership, our hopes for economic growth, and the demands of citizenship itself in an era such as this all require the maximum development of every young American’s capacity.”
Now, we find ourselves at a similar crossroads. In order to stay competitive in the global market we must innovate, innovate, innovate and achieve energy independence from foreign oil.
We must develop new sources of fuel, such as biofuels, made of natural items abundant in our state—woody biomass, sugarcane—but not of things we eat. This is an industry that will create jobs, support farms, and reduce our dependence on oil.
But for this to be successful, we need engineers, managers, factory workers, accountants, mechanics, and countless others.
So let us not lose sight of what must come first—education, education, education.
The U.S. education system must excel to keep our country competitive.
To do so we must reduce class sizes, close achievement gaps, reduce high dropout rates, put a stop to unfunded mandates and pay teachers a competitive salary.
Under the new president, we will reauthorize NCLB to make it work, for students, teachers, parents, teacher educators, and administrators.
And, with your help I'm confident we can succeed in creating a new John F. Kennedy vision for education that will benefit many generations of school children to come.