Honoring America's teachers
President Obama honors the 2012 Teacher of the Year, California educator Rebecca Mieliwocki at the White House Tuesday. (photo credit: Lesa Jansen, CNN)
April 24th, 2012
12:55 PM ET

Honoring America's teachers

Honoring the nation's teachers at the White House Tuesday, President Barack Obama said teachers are “helping to preserve the basic promise of America.”

Winners of the 2012 Teacher of the Year awards from all fifty states and territories and the national Teacher of the Year, California educator Rebecca Mieliwocki, gathered in the East Room of the White House Tuesday.

"These are the kind of teachers who change lives forever. I wouldn't be here today if it were not for teachers like these who challenged me, and pushed me, and put up with me, and inspired me - and set me straight when they had to. And I think everybody here can say the exact same thing.
Teachers matter. That's why I often tell young people: If you want a guarantee that you're making a difference every single day, become a teacher. A teacher is the key to a child reaching their potential," the president said.

Rebecca Mieliwocki, who has been an English teacher for the past 14 years, is a faculty member at California's Luther Burbank High School.
The annual competition is organized by Council of Chief State School Officers.

Topics: Education • President Obama

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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Howard

    Obama is always pandering to the teachers, and their unions, for votes.

    April 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Gloria

    Quick test: Teachers can take this too- do away with the teachers union and see how important they, teachers, are when they no longer belong to a union? Teachers are people. Groups of teachers are no different than any other group- say..priests or police or parents or computer programmers. Some are very good at what they do, some are so-so, some are terrible and some even break laws and harm our children. Another quick test: if for the past generations all citizens have been required to go through our educattional system and our leaders are a product of that system, as we all are, and teachers are the answer to our future...then how are we in the state we are now in? This is not a swipe at teachers- only the PR.

    April 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • C-Lo

      Gloria–nice, thought provoking post.

      Quick answer...how many of our top elected officials are the product of public vs. private education? Who did the left riddicule for her attendence at a public univeristy while holding in high esteem the value of a private university education? Hypocritical???

      April 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • Sponge-Bob

        Like Obama and Clinton?

        April 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  3. jerry

    Public education in America is so politicized... we came from europe and could not believe how far behind grade school students were. We live in WA state, a liberal state, and the largest school district in our area had only a60% graduation rate and I don't even want to tell you the overall testing scores.

    This is the system leftists like obama support...Yes, there are good teachers and most of them are dedicated however, the unions have destroyed the system...they buy our politicians...sad.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Sponge-Bob

      Obama doesn't care about the students or the teachers, just how they vote. He figures if you just throw more money at them they'll come back for more. Meanwhile drop out rates are very high and test scores are low.

      April 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • jerry

        and so far the fools bite...hahaha

        April 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Donna

      Amen Jerry Please read my reply below, maybe you can be that person! Thanks Donna

      April 25, 2012 at 5:05 am |
  4. Lizzie

    First thing Pres.Obama did get rid of the voucher program in DC so his girls don't have to share the classrooms with regular folks.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  5. greg

    it is obvious by the remarks made here today that not many of you have taken advantage of our educational system. And this is a great example why education is so important. Do we want to keep turning out Howards,sponge bobs ,jerry and lizzies.

    April 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • C-Lo

      right point greg, almost. I think the better point is the (public) education system has taken advantage of us...more taxes for more money for more poor results. Why not vouchers to allow middle class families have at least a shot at private/charter school tuition for their kids? Create competition for the best teachers to make the best salaries and the worst teachers to make the best burgers.

      April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  6. Donna

    union jobs pay union fees pay government!! Government can directly influence union workers that pay them!
    Government can make those laws those determine wethe you aare a sucessful teacher or not or determine if your school is a failure or not and close them! Governement decides what you teach, who and what age. If there were no unionsand or government there would be no regulation as above. You would save alot of money, would get on a group insurance plan with others, parents and teachers would be more involved in what was taught, to whom and what age, teachers would be in charge there probably would be less school closures and more higher student achievement!

    April 25, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • Donna

      teachers really do know whats best and Ipray and hope that one day a teacher would start a non union private association like spoken above, making government smaller and teachers larger!! Amen

      April 25, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  7. shanice88J

    I think it is a good idea to honor America's Teachers. Some middle and high school students are reckless, disrespectful and to grown for their age. Teachers have to endure a lot when it comes to their students. I applaud all teachers.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • C-Lo

      shanice: while I understand and respect the spirit in which this was written, I am still going to ask:
      Do you applaud the teachers who m0lest their students? Do you applaud the teachers who harrass their students? Do you applaud the teachers who fail to educate their students? Do you applaud teachers who tell crass jokes to 13 and 14 year olds?

      Yes teachers have a challenging job, but:
      1. they chose it
      2. they are paid to produce a result (hypothetically)
      3. many are protected by tenure–which leads to the problem of districts giving short term contracts so a teacher never receives tenure and you have a revolving door of educators with no experience or leadership

      You can applaud the position of a teacher, but to applaud all teachers is foolhardy.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm |