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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Vice President Joe Biden gets down to kids' level at Pasco elementary school




When Joe Biden visited Oakstead Elementary School in Land O'Lakes on Tuesday, he spent more time with the students than with the adults. He told the children that he likes to hear what they have to say for two reasons.

"First of all, you guys are smarter than you think you are, and you guys ask the best questions," he explained. "And sometimes when you ask questions I can figure out also what your parents are thinking, too. Because lots of times you sit at the dinner table and you hear your mommy and daddy talking about stuff and you wonder about that. So I spend a lot of time in schools."

During his classroom visit, he gave Kelly Keene's fifth graders the lowdown on the issue he had come to campaign about: Jobs. He tried to keep it at their level. 

"All across America we're losing all kinds of teachers. Almost 300,000. That's a big number. Different teachers have lost their jobs and so what happens is they're not in the classrooms," he said. "Look. Mrs. Keene used to have a class of 19 kids. Now there are 25 of you. And what that means is that Mrs. Keene gets a little less time she has to spend with each one of you. Imagine what it would be if Mrs. Keene only had 15 kids. You'd learn a lot more. You'd get her more often. The more kids there are, it's harder to answer all your questions and harder to get things done. So what I'm down here trying to do is talk about how President Obama and I are going to get more teachers back in the classroom while this, fancy word, this economy, is in trouble, and put people in better classrooms. For example, some day hopefully all of these classes out will be connected to the main school so when it's raining and you have to go to the cafeteria you don't have to walk through the rain."

Genesis Gonzalez, 11, said the visit did not disappoint.

"I thought it was going to be extraordinary, and it was because he gave us toys and answered our questions," she said. "It was the best thing ever to happen to me."

(Photo courtesy of Pasco County School District)

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 12:51pm]


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