The NEA awarded Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley with the 2010 Greatest Education Governor this year at the RA. O’Malley then spoke for a few minutes about his education ideas.
He began by saying, “Don’t make excuses, make promises.” O’Malley then stated that he made promises to the students of Maryland and no university in the state raised their prices, the only state to do so.
Then, O’Malley noted that education is the key to improving America’s national standing and economic recovery. After saying that education is a race between history and catastrophe, he stated that the U.S. must invest in “brain power and creative potential.” With the tools, resources, and support for public education, we are headed for a fall.
O’Malley then credited the NEA’s efforts in helping to pass the education jobs bill. In part, he specifically noted that 60,000 calls and letters to congressmen aided in the passing of the bill to the Senate.
He then quoted Robert Kennedy by saying the “future is not a gift; it is an achievement.”
And then his refrain of “We move forward, not back!” began with a choral response from the NEA delegation. He provided some statements about education and education stats and repeated the refrain.
He finished his speech with this parable:
A little girl came home from her fifth-grade class and says to her grandfather, “Grandfather, I have learned in science today that if you plant a tree it makes a big difference for the environment and it helps to clean the air and helps take up the stormwater.” And she says, “Grandfather, what’s the best time for planting a tree?”Grandfather says, “Well, you know, it takes 20 years for those roots really to go deep and have the benefit in cleaning and uptaking of the stormwater, takes 20 years for the branches to spread wide and actually do the carbon sequestration and clean up the air.” So he says to her, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.”
The little girl says, “20 years ago? What is the second best time to plant a tree?”
The grandfather looked her right in the eye and said, “Right now. Right now.”
O’Malley then said the time for educational support is right now, and he urged educators to continue to assist and fight for public education.