Americans must halt their “food fight” over the pros and cons of government and turn instead to propelling changes to put the country “back in the futures business,” says former President Bill Clinton.
|Former President Bill Clinton: “If you want to put America to work, making the physical structures of America more energy efficient is a very good thing to do." (Getty Images Photo)
“The whole thing being pitched to us now, as it always has been, is that government is always a problem — if only we had less government the world would be a wonderful place,” Clinton said Tuesday during a keynote speech at the National Charter Schools Conference in Atlanta. “Except when I need a college loan or I am losing my farm or there is a natural disaster or I want safe food and clean water.”
Clinton, who addressed the 4,000 attendees at the conference after receiving the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award, lamented that many people have given up on government, according to Maureen Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“People have given up on us because it looks like a food fight most of the time,” he said. “This is not about ideology. It is not about theology. It is about what we can do to give our kids a brighter tomorrow by putting our country back in the futures business.”
One of his own initiatives to move America into the future was his support for charter schools, Downey recalled. The country had one charter school when he took office, and 2,000 when he left.
Clinton told the audience of charter school advocates that his advisers were chagrined about his insistence on pushing the concept during his first campaign.
“Yes, he told his campaign team,” Downey writes. “People don’t understand what a charter school is, but they do understand that America needs education change.”
Clinton’s speech pushed the need for continued change, as he pressed job skills training in charter schools, as well as and nutrition and exercise programs for students.
The former president also urged a national quest to make schools more energy efficient, using utility bill savings to pay for the construction costs. Such an endeavor would put thousands of Americans back to work at the same time it saved schools money, said Clinton, whose own Clinton Global Initiative has raised millions of dollars and helped 300 million people worldwide.
“If you want to put America to work, making the physical structures of America more energy efficient is a very good thing to do,” he said. “It makes me sick to drive by these schools that are not open this summer vacation and people aren’t fixing them.”
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