Eddie Bernice Johnson

Speech at Teach For America Reception - July 15, 2011

Eddie Bernice Johnson
July 15, 2011— Memphis, Tennessee
Teach for America Reception
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Let me thank you very much for that introduction. It may actually be longer than my speech. I want to thank all of the participants for Teach For America. You are very, very important for America. We know that our students have to have well-qualified teachers before they can achieve the necessary achievements that this country needs them to achieve. So we thank you for what you do and for the dedication that you have to the students.

You know, looking out at this crowd I know that there are teachers here. You look like students to me. The older you get, the younger the people look to you. I want to tell you that more than any other time in history, it is important to have qualified teachers that can engage our students in the classroom. It makes no difference how small that class is or where it’s located, if we don’t have good teachers in that mix. You are very important, and try to recruit as many other very smart motivated personalities to be a part of the classrooms. Not only do the students just need that, our nation needs it. It is more important than ever before that we must be a part of the competitiveness of the world. We are a very global society now. If we don’t do a little bit better in our country, we are going to be losing our competitive edge. Because of you, we are likely not to do that. We are likely to be competitive.

But it’s more important than ever before that we have the content in our classrooms that our young people can get and retain so that they can be prepared for the next level. It is going to take more skill than ever before in our society. You know that. I’m old enough to see all of the evolution and revolutions that have come in technology, and you are a part of that age. It won’t stop with you. We hope that the minds that you stimulate will continue to put various products on the market. But it cannot happen by just happenstance. Our young minds must be engaged and directed. So that is why you are so important to our students, to your cities, your states, to our nation, and to the world, because as we prepare young people today, it is not just for this country, it is for this world because we are very, very global.

When you read about the world being flat, that means that anywhere on this flat earth that you have a talent and you have got the necessary tools that it takes to share that talent. You have a place to be.

Thank you, again, for being a part of who you are, for being who you are, and for the importance of the role in which you play. Thank you.

Speech from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofH2LKgk9T8&list=UUVKp8BtjW708H4eXJJQgUYw.