Saturday, August 30, 2008

Classic DNC Quotes: Bill Clinton, 1996

I watched it. I saw him say it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. Bill Clinton, upon accepting his party's nomination for president at the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago, said this:

"But we must demand excellence at every level of education. We must insist that our students learn the old basics we learned and the new basics they have to know for the next century. Tonight let us set a clear national goal: All children should be able to read on their own by the third grade. When 40 percent of our 8-year-olds cannot read as well as they should, we have to do something. I want to send 30,000 reading specialists and national service corps members to mobilize a voluntary army of one million reading tutors for third graders all across America. They will teach our young children to read.

"Let me say to our parents: You have to lead the way. Every tired night you spend reading a book to your child will be worth it many times over. I know that Hillary and I still talk about the books we read to Chelsea when we were so tired we could hardly stay awake. We still remember them, and more important, so does she. But we're going to help the parents of this country make every child able to read for himself or herself by the age of 8, by the third grade." [Emphases mine]
This is the Democrats' idea of education? Third grade?? I have a child entering Kindergarten next week who can already sound out some short words! If this is true, why do they also want to take our kids and put them in government-funded preschools when they are 3 and 4 years old...what are they going to do for all that time, before they learn to read? If a child isn't reading by the start of 1st grade, then that child is already behind schedule!

Furthermore, who does the former president intend to do this teaching? While the parents "have to lead the way" (and this is, of course, true), it is the government and its minions which do the rest. If our nation slips to the point where we need government just to help our children read...our nation is in trouble.

The entire transcript of the speech is here. And does anyone want to wager how many times Bill and Hillary read to their daughter when they "were so tired [they] could hardly stay awake?"

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