San Diego, California
March 23, 2001
Remarks for Laura Bush at Troops to Teachers Event
Thank you very much.
Vice Admiral Moore; Rear Admiral Ruehe; Captain Hering; Captain Liggett; Commander Mercado; Dr. Gantz; Superintendent Bersin; crew members of the USS Shiloh; crew members of the USS Decatur; family members; distinguished guests; and the fine men and women of Naval Station San Diego, I'm honored to be here today.
President Bush joins me in saying "thank you" to our nation's military personnel for your service. We deeply appreciate the sacrifices you make for our nation and the pride and honor you bring to our Armed Services.
Because of your sacrifices, the United States is strong, stable, and secure.
Your work ensures that America remains a land of opportunity. That is what brings me here today.
Men and women of the United States military, you answered the call to serve your country in the finest Armed Forces in the World. And as you prepare to leave the military, we ask you to turn your attention to the home front to Uncle Sam's classrooms where we need your service as teachers.
Over the next 10 years, schools will hire thousands more teachers to keep up with our growing student population. As we confront this need we turn to former military personnel for your help.
My husband thought I was kidding when I told him I was going to call in the military...
But he supports me 100 percent. And he supports YOU 100 percent.
America's school children need you, and I am here to enlist or rather, RE-enlist your help through the Troops to Teachers program.
Troops to Teachers is designed especially for you, as move you from the battleships to the blackboards as America's newest teachers.
This transitional program will help you earn your teaching credentials, and once you are certified, Troops to Teachers will help you find jobs back home or wherever you plan to live when you leave the military.
We are looking for the best and brightest minds to send into our classrooms. We want people like you, who have the qualities that make excellent teachers: an ability to thrive on overcoming challenges, a drive to achieve results, and a commitment to reaching every goal you set.
Already nearly 4,000 former military personnel have joined the ranks of teachers in our nation.
Many of you have science, math, and engineering degrees ¾ disciplines that our children desperately need. Beyond that you are tremendous role models with a sense of duty, honor and country that our children would do well to emulate.
The challenge is different but the reward is great.
In the news recently was a former soldier who became a teacher through Troops to Teachers. He said: "You put so much into talking with the kids. But it's also so exciting. There are definitely more plusses than minuses. Watching the light bulb go off in the kids' faces the 'I got it now' 'I understand look.' The challenge is finding the right button to reach this child."
Another man, an Air Force veteran said: "As a veteran you sacrifice self for your country. As a teacher you sacrifice self for youth."
And a former Navy Seal here in San Diego, said that after leaving the service, he was offered several jobs that pay about $100,000. He chose to be a teacher instead, because teaching offers rewards that money can't buy.
Because I used to be a public school teacher, I am proud to add my voice to the chorus of supporters for Troops to Teachers.
President Bush joins me in that effort. He intends to boost funding for the Troops to Teachers program from $3 million to $30 million, to help skilled professionals continue to serve our country this time in our classrooms.
Another real champion of this program is Senator John McCain.
Senator McCain has been a strong proponent of Troops to Teachers because he understands so well the vital role that retired military personnel can play in our schools and the wonderful leadership skills they can bring to our classrooms and our children.
This is just part of our commitment to ensure that no child is left behind.
This naval station is a training ground. Skills are sharpened and refined here. Men and women become true leaders here. And when you are not deployed, you are teaching and learning from each other. It is this kind of duty that translates well to a career in teaching.
If you are retired or soon to be retired, consider becoming a teacher.
Members of the military protected our nation in war and led the world in peace. As you prepare to end your service, I ask you to consider another challenge teaching in America's classrooms. Join the Troops to Teachers program for your future; and for our nation's future.