Obama: Chinese & Indians Kids Play Fewer Video Games, “Coming At Us Hard”

Returning to a theme that he touched upon often during the 2008 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama told the audience at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin that American kids spend too much time playing video games and watching television.

But Obama added a new wrinkle to yesterday’s remarks, linking them to the United States’ ability to compete in the global marketplace:

Even with the good schools, we’ve got to pick up the pace, because the world has gotten competitive. The Chinese, the Indians, they’re coming at us and they’re coming at us hard, and they’re hungry, and they’re really buckling down.

And they watch – their kids watch a lot less TV than our kids do, play a lot fewer video games, they’re in the classroom a lot longer.

So here’s the bottom line. We’ve got to improve, we’ve got to step up our game. While the average public school is actually doing a reasonably good job… we are falling behind when it comes to math; our kids are falling behind when it comes to science…

We used to be head and shoulders above other countries when it came to education. We aren’t anymore. We’re sort of in the middle of the pack now among wealthy, advanced, industrialised countries.


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  1. Valdearg says:

    Hah.. Yeah, you sure sound like you maintain a 4.0 in college.. You complain about the existence of Biology (HUGELY Valuable. Ever hear of Medical Biology? You know, the study of how the human body works and how to apply that to the development of new medical science??) and you seem to think that teaching the Big Bang and Evolution is a bad thing.

    The only thing you are maintaining a 4.0 in is your "Conservative ranting" and "Im Religious and Scared of science, please help me!" Degrees..

  2. xMrAx says:

     Oh yeah I would just like to post some of the horrible things public schools do and why we need better teachers not longer hours.


    Our AP economics teacher told everyone they could throw away their notes at the end of the year and then announced a test the next week. How are we supposed to study without notes. This was after he took a grade for playing a music game. This is an ap class for crying out loud.

    Our principal wouldn’t announce a fine arts events because it "wasn’t as important as the girl’s basketball game."

    Our principal stopped our entire academic awards ceremony to give the scores of our schools baseball game. That was really rude. He didn’t recognize anyone personally unless they were in sports. Its called an ACADEMICS AWARDS CEREMONY.

    My Spanish teacher couldn’t even speak the language correctly. I know this since we had an exchange student from Mexico and she couldn’t understand anything our teacher was saying. This was the type of teacher who handed back failing grades with a smile.

    Our basketball coach got arrested for impersonating a doctor.

    Two teachers got fired for getting drunk on a school trip.

    Our AP english teacher decided watching movies and playing chess was more important than literature. Really?

    The athletics department gets so much funding they have thousands of dollars left over every year. I’m just glad our head coach hates the administration and loves the fine arts and academics. He gives the extra money to other school departments that need it. 

    I ask questions in class and get told by the teacher they will look it up and get back to me. They never get back to me even when I ask again.

    A teacher gave a 69 to a kid for every grade he had all year. <== That is really true. Luckly it was only a one semester class.

    Our assistant principals are known to eavesdrop on kids.

    One assistant principal got fired for stealing kids lunches.

    Our head assistant publicly said the students were not as important as the teachers.


    I was lucky about math and science. I went to a magnet school in a public school that had different classes only in math in science.(Only the kids in the magnet school could attend these classes). These teachers had pay based on performance. Huge difference between them and the public school teachers. My physics teacher made physics seem like first grade math he was so good. 

    By the way this was a surburban school in an extremely weathly area. If my school was this bad I don’t even wanna know what inner city schools are like.




  3. xMrAx says:

     You also can’t compare our education standards with that of other countries. For example certain countries in Europe have higher test scores than we do. However, their version of high school is optional and they hand out different levels of degress depending on the time spent in that school By the fourth year only the highest scoring kids are left. In America we force every child to go to school. We are comparing everybody to a smart minority. Its the same way in China and India as somone posted above. America’s not doing bad, its just we are expecting everyone to be geniuses which isn’t possible.

  4. Karsten Aaen says:

    There’s a growing middle class in China that have access to all kind of games just like the ones we have in the west or different ones. In South Korea and Japan for example there exist a growing middle class that also has access to the same videogames we have in the west. Both the Chinese, South Korean and the Japenese children from the middle class now have access to videogames on their cellphones…and they do play them…

    It might be true that the US is falling behind in Math and in Science, but who is to blame for this?
    Or a better question may be to ask who is resonsible for this?

    Teachers have, of course, a great responsibility here, to explain their assignments to the students. Parents have a responsibility, too, I find. To help their children with the assignments given in schools.

  5. Wolvenmoon says:

    Well, that’s a good idea…but…


    1.How do you judge what the teachers are teaching? (Colleges do it in mathmatics by a department standardized randomly generated final exam that covers all materials in a book)

    2.Schools don’t pay for sports programs – the participants in and ticket sales do.

    3.IQ tests aren’t meant as a quantitive measure of knowledge, but a qualitative measure of learning ability.

    4. http://www.newsweek.com/id/154901 I don’t know if this person is still in her position, it was likely she was fired. She came in and had the gall to shake the lazy-ass teachers out of their comfortable positions. Basically: If they didn’t teach, they got fired. If they gave up their tenure/secure position, they could make about 2 1/2 times their normal wage.

  6. Wolvenmoon says:

    LOL, the MORON.

    "In the classroom longer"? We need to improve the QUALITY of our education, not compare ourselves to the QUANTITY OF TIME spent in theirs.

    Our education system runs our kids 40 hours a week with an expected 10-20 hours a week of homework. It’s failing. Maybe if we started firing SHITTY TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS we’d see an upturn in our kid’s education.


    Also, the chinese and indian kids are too busy with child labor to play video games. The top 5% that can afford it and the group out of them don’t are just that – the top 5% of their population.

    Here’s an idea! Drop the VAT tax BS, add incentives for products manufactured in the U.S., remove teacher’s job protection, make schools more transparent, and make being a public schools K-12 teacher a worthwhile career monitarily.

    Oh, wait, that’s too hard and will step on too many people’s feet. It’s easier to prevent these changes and when other politicians try to find ways around it (I.E. charter schools), point and laugh at their failed attempts.


    You want to teach science? That’s great, stop pushing biology – which has some STUPID controversy, and start pushing useful sciences such as chemistry. Maybe we could require mandatory training of our teachers in different learning styles. Oh, too costly. It’s easier to whine and bitch while we slip into obscurity. Spoon-feeding information to our students makes our teachers happier. Everybody likes a cute baby that can’t think for itself.

    When they recognize that a full time college student spends an average of 36 hours a week on school (12 hours in class), and that our K-12 students are spending 40 hours a week IN CLASS, and expected to self-start and self-motivate, maybe we’ll get some of that ‘change’ he was talking about.

    It’s bloody ridiculous (thanks, british peoples, for the curse word). We have bullying, we have sleeping in class, we have condoms being handed out by school nurses, we have ‘basics of’ evolution/big bang theory, but (and these are related in order) no psychology, no self care and/or useful ‘basics of’ healthcare, no real physics courses to teach us the ‘whys’ behind the big bang theory/evolution.

    Plenty of kids being ‘thrown away’ as unteachable. I had many teachers say that about me before I was pulled out and homeschooled, and I maintain a 4.0 in college. I was actually, in my 8-12th grade years, only in academics like taught in our public schools for 200 days total. The rest was just messing around. On my entrance exams, I scored typically double what public schools students did.


    the ‘change’ we can believe in will be the pennies thrown to us by our government when we’re all reduced to helpless reliance on politicians.

  7. KaylaKaze says:

    Maybe the fact that English class is required for 4 years while science and math are optional is a good reason why we’re falling behind IN SCIENCE AND MATH!

  8. PHX Corp says:

    I think all students sould take a state and federal wide  Final exam each and every year(until graduation) it would include all subjects(including P.E. but that will be handled by a yearly fitness test), I think the PSSA(pennsylvania system of school assement) would qualify as an every yr final exam

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  9. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Teachers are one aspect, the other local admirations, for teachers I think its time to put a free market pay scale into place you  teach your kids 2-4X what the norm is you get paid 2 or 3 times as much as a normal toss away teacher, and thats what we have as teachers in the US EDU system for K-12 teachers that can not teach and are nothing but fodder used by the school systems to manage mids as a semi advanced day care system that pays for local sports programs….

    Sport’s rant aside we can do so much better if we took the average student IQ/test scores and then paid the teachers more if they are able to to raise them more than 40% with more invectives the higher you go getting more bright and hard working teachers wanting to build their life at teaching kids to be smarter even if you don;t go with such a system it starts with teaching kids to enjoy learning and always having high standards for them.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  10. ZippyDSMlee says:

    They are doing that now you know(IE watering down standards…)…… thats why thigns are so bad…..

    For this to work In order to meet the higher pay standards you need to have kids, at least 50% of the class, rated at 3 to 6 grades or higher than normal. And for the 8+ grades, collage level tests to grade the class.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  11. hellfire7885 says:

    Maybe we could also get schools to cease diverting most of what money they get to their sports departments and stop giving preferential treatment to athletes. Seriously, I have heard of cases where teachers are instructed to give star athletes a free ride so they could carry the school, no, the school’s team to another "victory", while the rest of the school has to deal with textbooks from the 70s.

  12. ZippyDSMlee says:

    …….. a kid calling learning lame is by definition and nature a kid being a kid because kids are naturally dumbasses. If you as a community do not raise standards and get kids adjusted to learning and education you have generations of adults unable to become mature. This is a 2 fold problem one is parents but government can fix the problem by overhauling the edu system in the US that virtually pushes anyone it can into a mentality of low standards, get the kids smarter in 20-30 years the next generation will be better off because they had some real fundamentals ground into them by the system. Keeping to the status quo only makes more zombies.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  13. xMrAx says:

    Hey Obama, I play video games and watch tv enough to make my parents complain. But wait I got all A’s, graduated top ten and I am going to a top level university. Oh my gosh. Video games must have stunted my academic growth.

  14. Wormdundee says:

    Sounds like a good idea when you first read it, but think about what’s going to happen if you reward a teacher for having students with higher grades.

    Curriculum becomes easier so that students will be able to get higher grades. People are people, and in general, teachers aren’t going to take the hard way to a reward (be a better teacher) as opposed to just lowering the difficulty.

  15. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Through out my public school years, going to six different schools over the course of it, I can honestly say that the number of good/inspiring teachers could be counted on one hand. A good teacher IMO is one that inspires their students to think and work hard, at least from my experience, there seems to be a lack of those types. Absolutely the Teachers’ Union is an issue, just as the UAW is with what happened in the American auto industry, it has become too big and too powerful. The only thing that really combats it is when a group of parents become "outraged" and make a huge stink that could result in bad PR. Of course yeah there’s also the issue of bad parents as well who don’t make their kids do their work (which is such a terribly outdated concept that could be and should be done away with) or keep their grades up or any real discipline at home. Or those parents that give teachers hell for trying to discipline their kids since said parents aren’t doing it themselves.. Hell, when I went to school in Arizona in the late 80s/start of the 90s, they were still paddling kids. O_O Too bad that wasn’t kept up. There’s absolutely no fear of discipline now. Oh no! Detention, oh no, in school suspension, oh no a regular suspension/vacation! Then there’s the whole mass paranoia that arose from Columbine that did no one any favors. >_<

    IMO we need to find a way to completely break out of the one size fits all curriculum and educate students based on their strengths while making sure their weaknesses are also covered to an acceptable level..

  16. Wormdundee says:

    Woah woah, a kid calling reading lame is not a ‘kid being a kid’. It’s a kid being a dumbass. My parents instilled in all 3 children a love for reading at a young age, and it made an enormous impact on my education.

    I can tell you for sure that there’s a difference when all through elementary school I never got less than 100% on a spelling test, while the majority of other classmates had troubles. Or using words that other kids had never heard of before because I read them in a book.

    I actually managed to read David Copperfield in Grade 5.

    Most of my friends never read anything except magazines, and its kind of sad to think that they’ll never read classic books.

    I try not to write off anti-intellectualism as kids being kids, because at this point in time, that type of thinking doesn’t stop when they become teenagers/adults.

  17. Wormdundee says:

    Try harder at trolling please.

    And don’t try to tell me that you aren’t trolling, because if you aren’t, that makes you a moron for not reading a post in its entirety and responding to only one point made without respect to supporting arguments. 

  18. F__ked up says:

    Hmm more time in the classroom. give me a break

    I remember that my little cousin wanted to start school. He couldnt wait to start school. He wanted to digest the knowledge of the world and he was only 4 years old. I bet we were all like that, willing to learn but then something changed. Why is that?

    So Chinese and Indians spend more time in the classroom So do the Japanese and they have the highest youth sucide rate, most of it to be blamed on their culture. The Japanese put so much emphasis on education, getting good grades, and conforming to the rest of society that just to slip up once its held against them practically destroying their lives. It has gotten to a point where if your not in the top percentile you might as well give up.

    If there is anything to be said for education, it is that learning no longer motivates us. Students are not treated as people but more like prisoners that only have mainly 2 ways to get out, get the grades or escape. Student have come down to nothing but statistics and numbers. The school system does not motivate us to learn, it motivates us to cram, memorize, cheat, or not. It tells us that failure is unexceptable and to fail is practically death, so much for trial and error. We all know there is more to life than math, science, english, etc… face it not everyone is going to excel at each area we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and various interest. Maybe we should capitalize on what students like to do and are good at doing.

    A whole change in the enviroment of how to teach children needs to be changed. From my experience, stop treating students as prisoners, numbers, pets and treat them like people. Maybe step away from the academic lessons and help on those life lessons.

  19. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Hardly more like fou neo con rant as a joke, what I was trying to get at hes comparing  apples to oranges then making a sound bite about change that no one is really interested in bringing.

    And you do realize you are blaming kids for being kids you might as well say they should just get a job at 8 its asinine and ridiculous to blame a kid for being a kid, you can blame parents to a certain degree but this problem starts at a governments level because its allowed people to get dumb by lowering standards and not keeping up with the times, you can not completely blame a zombie for what it is theres always 1 or 2 things that made it.

    We need a reinvention of the K-12 or more specifically 5-12 grades we need to use a true free market standard on teacher pay and get those that are highly skilled and wish to live a decent life and not work in poverty, we should be treating them like CEOs if they can handle the herding children into higher standards not do the nightmarish thing we are doing now that pushes most kids to a GED is good enough mentality and others to just give the fuck up on education.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  20. Valdearg says:

    Even if you can’t pick your school or teachers, which, by the way, at least in my state, you can, the ultimate responsibility for your future is you.

    You can’t go around saying "I’m stupid because my teachers sucked!" Thats just shifting blame away from where it should be. Again, I’m not saying that there aren’t bad teachers, but if they were the cause of all the stupidity in America, how is it that plenty of students go through thier classes and are just fine coming out the other end.

    Like I said before, the ultimate responsibility for your education falls directly on your shoulders. If you don’t feel like you are getting the subject matter, then you had better do something about it. Spend extra time studying and learning on your own, find a tutor, or talk to another teacher to bring you up to speed. The problem arises when a kid doesn’t take these extra steps to learn the subject matter.

  21. deuxhero says:

    It’s not video games, it’s the horrible government controlled schools. Obama isn’t going to say anything because the teachers unions that make them so bad are supporters of his.

  22. Good Lord says:

    "I would agree, if you were able to pick your school and your teachers."

    You couldn’t? Back when I was still in the system, I was picking my school and teachers since the start of junior high, 6th grade.

    Is that actually unusual? Yikes.

  23. Valdearg says:

    "So all this translates to I want the young to work I want to repeal work safety and benefits so we can drive the economy so everyone will be poor paying taxes  so the government can reduce what is spends by killing off large swafes of the populace?"

    Well… Are you saying that Obama is suggesting we force the young to work and repeal work safety? Because thats not at all what he is suggesting. He is just saying kids need to get more involved in thier education.

    Its no secret these days that kids would rather play video games or watch tv than read a book or study. In fact, there aren’t many kids these days who actually READ. You say, "Oh man, you should read this book!" and they respond "Sorry, I dont read books.." Like its some kind of insult that you think they should read.. Come to think of it, I remember a time when I was reading a book at home, in my computer chair, and my Brother and his friends came in and just looked at me like I was crazy. "Why are you READING?!?! That is so boring and lame!" they kept saying..

    Like I’ve been saying, its the children these days, and thier insistence that anything academic is lame, and that anyone who does it is a loser.. As well as the idea that they don’t need to be smart to be sucessful..

  24. ZippyDSMlee says:


    So for the sake of lessening confuseion I need to tag my comemnts? 😛

    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  25. Valdearg says:

    Not to sound like a jerk, but it IS difficult to tell what you are trying to say sometimes. Not to mention, if you aren’t being sarcastic most of the time, you do jump to some pretty crazy conclusions on occasion.

    Thats not to say you don’t hit the nail on the head just as often, though. 🙂

  26. Valdearg says:

    I wouldn’t even say that "a lot" of teachers suck.. Most of them care about the students and thier success, despite what the Anti-Union rhetoric is. Unfortunately, when more and more students come from households who don’t care about education and misbehave, it becomes harder and harder to care about them at all.  If you ask me, I’d rather a teach scream at his students and if it gets thier attention to learn, than sit back, put in a video, and give everyone A’s for showing up, because it shows that the Teacher cares about getting the lesson through thier thick skulls..

  27. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Our kids are distracted from edu by a wealthy lifestyle  IE there is simply to much distraction and without a system thats able to get them interested in learning and polish their natural skills to place some on a work skill path early all we will do is fail because it places the burden on kids to be smart and ready for the world 13 years before they are due….


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  28. Adrian Lopez says:

    "I think this is a comment on the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the average American."

    How is an argument for longer school hours — no doubt to be spent sitting down listening to teachers — a comment on the sedentary lifestyle of the average American?

  29. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Poverty is a great drive to learn how many in the US don;t have food,water,power and stuff? We need a edu system that  pays teachers 2-4 times as much if they can pass a class with 3 or 4 times  higher scores and for chirst sake toss out tenure for k-12 teachers its un needed as they need to meet edu goals more than anything else.


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  30. ZippyDSMlee says:


    Perhaps I should have added sarcasm tags for all but the idiot parts?


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  31. nighstalker160 says:

    Not for nothing but Obama isn’t exactly wrong here. Chinese and Indian students DO spend a lot more time in the classroom. The United States is stuck in an educational system designed to allow students to be out of school to help on the family farm.

    Exactly how many of us live on the family farm anymore?

    I really don’t think this is the attack on video games you think it is Dennis. I think this is a comment on the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the average American. There’s no denying the epidemic of childhood obesity and the fact that our kids are being raised by TV’s, 360’s and PS3’s nowadays.

    I don’t see where Obama put the BLAME on the games themselves. He said our kids are playing too many videogames, I tend to agree with him in some respects, kids are playing MLB ’09 instead of playing…ya know…BASEBALL. But I don’t see where Obama blamed the existence of the games themselves.

  32. Austin_Lewis says:

    The fact that a lot of teachers that suck manage to keep their jobs seems to be a problem to me.  There are some great public school teachers, but a lot are mediocre to just plain terrible.  I heard a story about a highschool teacher near where I live who used to yell (as in SCREAM) at the students (he taught Algebra).  Sadly, as the man had tenure and was part of the teachers union, he never got fired.

    And should some of those kids be forced out of the public school system or sent to bootcamps?  You bet your ass.

  33. mogbert says:

    I’m pretty hardcore when it comes to game, and I also have the president’s award for mathematical excelence, and aced every math/science class I’ve taken in high school and college (well, except the ones I exempted from).

    Prehaps he should take a look at the calculations needed to determine the correct weapon in Dragon Quest 8? Or the fact that on most game board inner game mechanics are generally discovered using the scientific method?

  34. PoisonedV says:

    Yes, that’s obviously what he meant by that commnet. Jesus stop jumping to ridiculous conclusions

  35. Adrian Lopez says:

    "And they watch – their kids watch a lot less TV than our kids do, play a lot fewer video games, they’re in the classroom a lot longer."

    There’s something to be said against taking school so seriously that there’s very little room left for just plain fun. Instead of forcing kids into stricter schools with longer hours — possibly driving many of them to suicide when they can’t deal with the pressure — how about instead we improve the quality of teaching? Let’s make schools more interesting, more welcoming, and less authoritarian instead of having the government adopt a paternalistic attitude towards education.

  36. PoisonedV says:

    It’s not a problem of playing too many videogames or watching TV. They’re just stupid.

  37. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Errr…thats because ‘dear'(bama) they have less restrictions on how young you can work and work safety not to mention that most are poor compared to the US. So all this translates to I want the young to work I want to repeal work safety and benefits so we can drive the economy so everyone will be poor paying taxes  so the government can reduce what is spends by killing off large swafes of the populace?

    O…..M…..G………. we went from Idiot Dubya to a idiot savant in Bama………


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  38. Chaltab says:

    Teens these days are just kind of lazy. My brother dropped out of school, and it’s a pain trying to get him to go to work, whether he’s playing video games or not.

  39. DCOW says:

    hey obama, you forgot that part where those specific groups of people are also known to beat their children! but hey! all for the sake of education!

  40. shaoron says:

    wait… are you freakin kidding me!?

    China is actually SUFFERING from MMO ADDICTION!

    i thihnk the only country worse than China is south Korea!

  41. SS says:

    yeah chinese or indian kids don’t play videogames but many of them don’t think for themselves….

    at least they think  unlike a lot of kids here….

    but chinese and indian kids lack in social skills, i know because i used to live in India.  they study way too much and suck up to authority too much.  

  42. Neo_DrKefka says:

    It’s not Chinese and Indian kids are coming at us hard, Americans are willing to hire those from overseas because they can have them come here and pay them if they were in India under K1-B Visa status.


    Obama is just a Jimmy Carter 2.0 an entire section at Allstate were I used to work are not dazeled and confused because they were laid off to outsource overseas because of Obamanomics.

  43. Valdearg says:

    Yes, there are shitty teachers, but absolving all responsibility for your grades because you had a shitty teacher isn’t going to work.

    Ultimately, what you do with your life, the grades you get, and your job performance once you hit the real world are all up to you. Your choices dictate how well you do in the long run. Yes, having more help (Better Teachers and more support) will always be better, but if a kid is really determined, it doesn’t matter what kind of teachers they have, they will come out of school with a good education.

    Ugh, Im going to sound conservative again here, and it kills me to do so, but one thing that is missing in a school system is the idea of personal responsibility. It is YOUR responsibility to do well in school, and it is YOUR responsibility to focus and work hard in the real world as well. Ultimately you are responsible for your life.

  44. Dragoon1376 says:


    Both you and Austin make valid points concerning our education issues and I believe both of you to be right, to a point.  The issue is probably way more complex than your focused appraisal on one factor.  Kids can be brats and punks.  Teachers can be incompetent and hopelessly outdated. 

    I can cite examples of both from my friends and family that have taught in the classroom.  It may be more one way such as your experiences Valdearg but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the opposite in another area.  If poor teachers have been fired then you have to question the strength of the teacher union in your area (one of the local unions near Denver had a sick out over a permanent 1% cost of living increase), the competence of the principal, etc.  If the students are complete assholes in the classroom and are disrupting the environment, you have to question the type of household they’re growing up in, parental environment, etc.  It gets hopelessly complicated once you start accounting for variables but a school in Chicago is not a school in Denver is not a school in Washington D.C. and so on.

    This is one of the reasons why I dislike the idea of bussing and support the concept of school vouchers.  Oh, and I’m not extremely removed from the high school environment either.  I graduated in 1999 and the Columbine shooting punctuated the end of my high school experience.

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  45. Brokenscope says:

    You can’t expect a middle school kid to take the course syllabus and derive the proper way to learn the materials and achieve the course goals.

    If your attitude is correct then why do we even bother with teachers?

  46. Weatherlight says:

    I agree with what you are saying to a point. Its not so much a fault of the students as it is the school administration for not allowing students to be treated differently, based on there skill level. The system is setup in a way that it cannot provide what either student require, because those who don’t care about the class are put in the same as those who excel in that area.

    It is our system that has a problem, because it does not allow for an alternative to standard classroom education. IE no technical training or skill training before finishing High School, which is unacceptable in a modernized school system.


  47. Neeneko says:

    Since when has any president?  Wasteful spending == votes.  The only thing that ever changes is which waste they go with and who consideres it wasteful.

  48. Arell says:

    Let’s not forget that he isn’t saying video games are dangerous, or that they make kids stupid.  He just considers them a waste of time you could be spending on something else.

  49. Valdearg says:

    If you ask me, the burden of making the grade should be placed squarely on the student. Yes, some teachers make it harder than others, but if a student is going to give up just because he or she got a bad teacher, then they deserve whatever grade they get.

    Think of the comparison to the real world. Should you stop trying hard at work just because you have a shitty boss? No. Do some people do it? Yes, and they end up having to deal with the consequences of thier actions through discipline or even termination.

  50. Valdearg says:

    Man, Austin.. You really entertain me with some of your off topic republican ramblings..

    HOWEVER (and let me make this clear that this won’t happen often) the part of your post that actually was about education and teachers is pretty much correct.

    From personal experience, (Im 22, so my high school is still pretty fresh in my mind) part of the problem is some bad teachers exist. Though, in my school, the 3 really terrible teachers we had were actually fired during my 4 years there.

    The one thing you did miss in your comments, though, were the STUDENTS. My school, a public school, had more really awesome teachers than I can even count, and it showed in most of us. However, there is always that bottom 25% of students who would rather cause trouble, do drugs, and generally slack off and not do your work during the school day.

    THESE students, in my opinion, are more responsible for our "failing" school system than the teachers. These students wear way at a teachers will to work hard and do a good job, not to mention that thier disruptions cause other students to stray from the correct path and just cause general chaos. I had a math teacher that was just AWESOME.

    He kept students engaged, even most of the slackers, and everyone loved him, even though he was a tough grader. He quit his job and moved to a different school after getting saddled with a remedial math class full of students bussed in the from the inner city, and being written up because he sent disruptive students away, and with that class, it ended up being like half of it on a daily basis. So, he was forced to make a choice between tolerating disruptive students, which would lower the quality of education to the students who wanted to be there, or lose his job.

    In my opinion, these kids should have 3 strikes, and then be removed from the class. And if they prove to be habitual in many classes, they should be removed from school. This is probably one of the ONLY things in the world that I have a conservative view on, but I take education seriously, and I don’t think than 80-90% of the student population in a school should be forced to tolerate kids who don’t want to be there.

  51. Master_E says:

    A big part of the problem is the fact that school is boring as hell. And, no, it’s not supposed to be ‘Super Happy Fun Time!", but there’s a lot that could be done to make things more interesting… things that could actually make kids *want* to learn instead of just spouting on and on about whatever’s in the curriculum and hoping something sticks.

    Remember that one teacher you’d have every now and then? The one that did things a lot differently? The one that decided your education shouldn’t be focused squarely on what letter grade you were going to get, but rather on getting you to actually *understand* what was being taught, with the idea that the letter grade would fall into place once that happened? Remember it WORKING?

    And many teachers just want to make things as hard as they can. Some of them might only give 4 major tests throughout a semester… so, you screw up on one of those and could be stuck at a C no matter what you do. And when many kids feel stuck like that, they just give up on doing any better for the remainder of that class… which means they’ll come away from that class with the bare minimum of knowledge needed to pass… IF they do pass.

  52. Zerodash says:

    In all fairness, I think he may be speaking more about time management than the specific activites of children.

    Regardles, it’s not like Obama is creating an environment where better education will have much benefit to people: Equal outcome for all regardless of the amount of work put in. 


  53. Austin_Lewis says:

    Alright, time to tear this bullshit apart.

    Even with the good schools, we’ve got to pick up the pace, because the world has gotten competitive. The Chinese, the Indians, they’re coming at us and they’re coming at us hard, and they’re hungry, and they’re really buckling down.

    What ‘good schools’?  Most public schools are GARBAGE.  The Chinese aren’t ‘coming’ at jack shit.  They’ve been lying about test scores in that country since Chairman Mao, so I’ll be damned if I’ll take their numbers seriously.  I don’t doubt they have better schools, probably because they weed out people who won’t learn and send them to work in the fields or in factories or doing odd jobs for the government.

    And they watch – their kids watch a lot less TV than our kids do, play a lot fewer video games, they’re in the classroom a lot longer.

    Actually, they don’t.  They’re in the classrooms a little bit longer than us, but their teachers are motivated by fear of the party, unlike ours who are barely motivated by fear of being fired (because, you know, unions and tenure make it pretty hard to fire shitty teachers).

    So here’s the bottom line. We’ve got to improve, we’ve got to step up our game. While the average public school is actually doing a reasonably good job… we are falling behind when it comes to math; our kids are falling behind when it comes to science…

    Then how are we doing a reasonably good job?  And what about English, you know, the language that Americans read and write?  Most public school graduates seem stuck at reading at a 5th grade level last I checked.  Our math and science scores suck in public schools, mainly because the textbooks are old, teachers unmotivated, and students don’t care to learn (for the most part).

    We used to be head and shoulders above other countries when it came to education. We aren’t anymore. We’re sort of in the middle of the pack now among wealthy, advanced, industrialised countries.

    You know, if we had money to spend on education instead of throwing it away on bullshit like stimulus packages (get ready for part 2 this summer y’all!), buying failing businesses (GM, for example, which will continue to fail for the next year and a half).  We could cut out a lot of the new government’s wasteful spending, and probably generate 500 BILLION (at least) more dollars for schools.  Of course, it’d also help if the government didn’t assist in pushing businesses out of the country and making people not want to do business in the US due to unions, idiotic regulations, etc.

  54. 1AgainstTheWorld says:

    We also have bigger debts than China and India.  Any idea how to fix that, Mr Prez?

  55. Brokenscope says:

    I would agree, if you were able to pick your school and your teachers.

    In schools you are responsible for meeting the goals put forth. If the goals aren’t defined properly then you can’t do anything.

    The system only works when both sides of the equation are right.

  56. godmoney says:

    A political statement wrapped in ignorance.

    Chinese and Indian kids don’t play video games because they’re working in factories. 

    Maybe Obama is suggesting that an abolishment of child labour laws will get kids to stop playing video games.

  57. Badluck1313 says:

    I don’t understand how exactly you made a connection between inattentive teachers and teachers who have sex with their students. Also, wouldn’t that make students take more of an interest in school?

  58. dedre says:

    Head and shoulder above over countries with education, huh? As a child of the late 80’s and early 90’s, it seems to me that we haven’t really been ahead of the curve since…hell the industrial era?

  59. jedidethfreak says:

    My two cents:

    I find it funny that the Democrat blames video games, when Democrats are supposed to be appeasing young voters using new technology, and they are supposed to be champions of the First Amendment (which I do believe applies to video games).

    I would like to know how Barack Obama plans on improving public schools.  As a parent, this is what I am interested in.  It isn’t enough to say that he will work on it.  I want to hear a plan.  He can’t make the time in a classroom longer, because the unions won’t allow overtime.  He can’t extend the school year, because the unions claim the summer break is necessary for teachers.  He can’t get rid of tenure, because the unions will be in uproar.  The only thing he can do is throw money at the problem.  Here’s the problem:  that’s all he’s done since he took office, and things have only gotten worse.


    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  60. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    They could also do with a Special Services idea in schools. Some Students work with Learning Disabilities (Who thought that up -_-; It effects more then jus’ learnin’) instead of calling the kids stupid and stuff (They did to me) They ought to have things in place like the colleges do, extended Test times, Note Takers, stuff like that…though not sure a note taker would be needed till jr. high or High school but seriously just little things that fixed everything when I hit college….I caught up in no time because people gave me time and worked with me…instead of calling me stupid and leaving me to die on the side of the road so to speak.

  61. Doomsong says:

    Of course they’re playing fewer video games… they are spending way too much time pirating them. You don’t have time to play when you should be working.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  62. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    Exactly, I would love to be a teacher, however…the crap they put up with in this country…and the pay, and everything else you wouldn’t get me within 100 feet of a school. I needed to be brought down a grade because I didn’t understand and needed to be put back in Remedial math just so I could try and catch up more…my Math Teacher refused to let me go to another class she said I could just fail! And the School didn’t help they told my parents "Well Policy says." and they could get away with it because it was the only high school in town.

  63. starsrift says:

     It`s amazing that you see the president`s reference of education numbers as a `fear tactic` and not what it is – a fact.


  64. Austin_Lewis says:

    He’s just using new ones.  Oh no, economy, we gotta waste money trying to fix it, oh no, mexican drug cartels having a war across the border, we gotta take your rights away so that they’ll see an ease in violence (wouldn’t happen, btw), oh no, right-wing extremism, be afraid of 75% of the population, oh no, north korea, we’ll send them a very angry letter, oh no, we’re hanging Israel out to dry, maybe the muslim’s like us, oh no, SWINE FLU PANDEMIC, let’s make up cases so the people believe and so we can justify spending 1.5 billion on Tamiflu, which isn’t even effective against it (wonder who made money on that purchase?) oh no, if we don’t buy companies, they’ll collapse, shhh while we move to socialism.

    I especially like how he talked about moving ‘away from’ fear tactics in his campaign. 

  65. sirdarkat says:


    God Obama is turning into exactly well exactly every damn president before him; hey I have an agenda and I need a scapegoat and a fear tactic hmmm video games and ooo people are afraid of the commies so lets bring up China.

  66. Adrian Lopez says:

    "… the fact that he would be the first ‘Non-European’ president (PC enough?)"

    "Non-European" is what you’ve decided to go with? Because all the other presidents were born in Europe? You might as well say Non-Aryan if that’s what you mean. No sense in making a ridiculous statement even more ridiculous by trying to surround a non-PC statement in PC language.

    The proper way to say it is this: He’s the first black president of the United States.

  67. Nekowolf says:

    I think you both are right. It varies on teachers, on the school, location (if the location is rich, poor, if the state/city has a history of economic distress, etc.), and other things.

    You simply cannot cover the whole educational system under the same light, it’s too vast. I’ve had good teachers, and I’ve had bad teachers, both in elementary, middle, and high school.

  68. Valdearg says:

    How long ago were you in school? You are a business owner and at the very least a college graduate. You are what, 30’s? 40’s?

    I am 22, and I graduated a mere 4 years ago. I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we were taught hard work, getting work done on time, and paying attention will give us the best chances once we graduate. I never once remember a teacher beyond elementary school telling anyone that they can do anything and no matter what, they are a winner. It was work hard, study hard, do well in school, go to college. That was the focus.

    Regardless, like I said before, its better to motivate kids than to tell them they are screwed from the onset.


    [Edit] Thats not to say I don’t support being hard on kids once they show habitual disruptivity or non-interest in learning. At that point, separate them and try to help them. If that fails, throw em on thier ass.

  69. Weatherlight says:

    I fully agree it is bullshit. That is one of their biggest pushes in schools when it comes to social engineering, Next to the lie that all people are equal. Not true in the least bit. People socially can be treated and act as equals, but people excel in different areas, where one can be smarter then the other in a specific aspect and are not equal.

    Telling kids that if they work hard they can strive to be anything that they want to be is fine and dandy, but at some point they will realize that X Job, is either obtainable or not based on their abilities.


  70. Valdearg says:

    Ehh.. I think, at least in elementary school, they teach that to keep the kids motivated and working hard. You can’t take a pair of kindergarteners and tell one he’s better than the other, because that just is asking for Bullying and a kid who no longer wants to go to school. And before you go into the whole "Lets hurt a kindergartener’s feelings because thats how it works in the real world" argument..

    Remember that if you can inspire them now, and make them feel like if they try, they can do anything they want, it certainly helps thier motivation down the road. Telling a kid he’s a failure and just should stop trying is just going to cause him to stop trying, which in turn completely screws up his life down the road.

    If you ask me, it’s fine to teach that people are equal and everyone is capable of doing good things. Keeping in mind that once you reach 5th grade and beyond, that education style stops, and the hard work begins.

  71. Austin_Lewis says:

    I think it has more to do with that ‘everyone is a winner’ bullshit then group think, though group think is a good part.  Sorry, it’s not true, and when my son comes home from school, I tell him it’s not.  I’ve also told his teachers I’d prefer they stop preaching that bullshit with the money I pay for his schooling. ‘Everyone is a winner’ breeds generations of losers and parasites.

  72. Valdearg says:

    Ehh. I’d say the younger generation are getting more political. I think after the Bush years, they are realizing that they don’t want old, rich, and religious individuals making all of thier choices for them.

    As for Obama, I knew Obama was a politician from the start, but hes a damn hell of a lot better than Bush and McCain. I like the way he’s performed so far, considering the fact that I didn’t expect him to change the world, like I’m sure a few dreamers did.

  73. Bigman-K says:

    The point is he shouldn’t be using fear tactics whatsoever. We’re past that political bullshit now. He should stop trying to play to the right and be himself. The younger generation is sick to shit of all this political manuvering and are becoming apolitcal, if they aren’t already. Obama is making himself look like another corperate and special interest owned politican with no backbone. I think he knows better but he is afraid because he’ll lose votes. He’s already losing his greatest supporters the younger generation who want this change he was always talking about but not showing.

     "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  74. Valdearg says:

    "I especially like how he talked about moving ‘away from’ fear tactics in his campaign."

    While he does stumble into fear tactics every now and then, its hardly on the level used in the previous admin. Terrorist Warning System ring any bells? Something that might be construed as bad, politically happens, and the first thing they do, to divert attention is go, "OMG  LOOK! TERRORIST WARNING  WENT TO ORANGE!!"

    Not to mention how many times did we see "Oh No! Terrorists!" used to explain any and all presidential action in that era.. At least Obama is creative and changes his threat..

  75. Neeneko says:

    It goes even further then that.

    Ever been to Delaware?  Horrible schools.  Why? Because they put school funding on voter referendum.  Thus homeowners got to decide that they could lower their taxes by cutting school funding.  I think you can guess what happened….

    Even in my area (PA), we had problems with local home owners groups trying to get the school budget slashed so they would pay less on their McMansions.  This included homeowners who had children IN the schools.

    Education is not considered a respectable priority in this country, so when you have personal wealth vs communal education, a lot of people will choose to fatten their own wallets rather then waste money on children.  This is made worse by how the mythology around wealth works in this country.  There is a strong meme in American society that puts value on uneducated hard workers (or slick people-persons) who rise up the ranks and become wealthy.  This myth often has elements of ‘showing up’ the educated ‘elite’ who are less valuable.

    Fixing the school systems is unlikely to be possible without massive social change.

    Oddly enough, one of the other reasons schools have dropped… was Star Trek (or it’s equivalent).  Media that glorifies education (science and engineering) tends to be rather rare.  When I talk to most scientists and engineers in their 40s-60s, Star Trek is often listed as one of the things that inspired them to study science.  Today?  Have you seen the new Star Trek movie?  No one is going to be inspired by that.  The whole direction sci-fi has taken over the last few decades has been ‘more action & special effects’ less ‘science/engineering/social commentary’.

  76. Austin_Lewis says:

    Education and policing often get cut first, instead of inane pet projects that help nobody (looking at you, Chicago, how’re you enjoying that rash of shootings?  What happened to the whole ‘no pistols’ in chicago thing anyway?  That worked out well.)

  77. Duffy says:

    From the few school districts I have seen the problem isn’t money. Yes, their are impoverished schools out there that can’t afford some stuff. But they can retain useless personnel at some of the highest paying jobs in the area. (Again, not everywhere but a lot.) As a general rule, throwing money at it doesn’t fix it. It’s been tried for awhile now and has failed.

    First things first, they need to cut out the BS grading and dumbing down of school. If they can’t pass they can’t pass. Thats the student’s problem not the schools.

    Second, some teacher unions needs to back off and take some hits. (This could be said about a lot of unions, but that’s another topic.) And regulate your own dam members, if they aren’t up to snuff drop them. Watching a horrible teacher keep their job because of union politics is infuriating.

    Third, the parents and students need to care. A lot do not. Pretty simple.

  78. TBoneTony says:

    I guess Education gets cut from the budget in hard times, and THEN they wonder why are people getting dumb.

    That is like setting your own house on fire and wondering why you have got nothing left.

  79. SaintFaucet says:

    Meanwhile, isn’t education usually one of the first things on the chopping block when districts, states or the feds have to make budget cuts? Wonder if that has anything to do with us ‘falling behind’ in math and science?

  80. Neeneko says:

    Actually I would say blame the parents rather then blame the teachers. 

    Parents have been forcing the schools to dumb down thier material for decades now.  A high GPA is considered more valuable for getting into college then actual knowledge therefor giving out low grades is a quick way to earn parent’s ire, which can result in firing.

    This is also one of the reasons so many teachers just don’t care anymore.  Why bother teaching when you are basicly being judged at how many award winning GPAs you put out.  That and the poverty inducing paycheck they get.  Teacher’s salaries are still based on the assumption that they are mothers working ‘on the side’ rather then breadwinners.  The lack of respect teachers get in sociaty doesn’t help either.  All in all, it is a pretty demoralizing job.

    Why are schools working better in india and china? For one.. teachers are actually looked up to, respected members of the community, rather then ‘oh, that failure is teaching.  if they were really smart they would be in a job that pays better’  we get here. 

  81. mdo7 says:


    Yeah and also let’s not forget about teachers having sexual affair with their students.  You know like Mary Ann Letourneau, Debra Lafave, and Pamela Turner.  Those ladies are a disgrace as teacher.  Sometime I don’t understand why are they not going after teacher for not educating student the right way instead of blaming it on video game and TV.  I met a lot of teacher with good inspiration and influences.

  82. Stealthmaster says:

    Don’t blame Video games and TV, blame the teachers that does not care. I had a math teacher when I was in high school he got fired because more than half the students failed, I had a biology teacher that his only assignment for the day was to read a chapter and do the questions at the end of said chapter. He did not explain anything just had the assignment on the whiteboard and say "Here you go, Due by the end of the day". His idea of standing up and teaching was watching mythbusters. It’s a pretty well known fact that some teachers does not care. At least there are some out there that does.

  83. Weatherlight says:

    He has always been like every other politician out there, people just couldn’t see past the fact that he would be the first “Non-European” president (PC enough?)


  84. TBoneTony says:

    I wished that Obama’s experience at PONG would have taught him a little bit about keeping his concerntration during the historic election last year.

    Maybe I was wrong.

    He is starting to turn into every other politician in America,

    When there is a problem, don’t blame society, blame the videogames and the Generation Y.

    Pick the scapegoats that the majority won’t get angry at.

    In the 1950’s, it was Communism.

    In the 1970’s, it was the Hippies.

    In the 1990’s, it was violent TV and Videogames.


    I guess things take longer to change.

  85. Weatherlight says:

    Video games do not have to be about learning something useful, they can be a very productive stress reliever. When I had my best grades in College, I was putting 2-6 hours a day playing CS:S. While that may be excessive for some it would let me take my mind completely off of my work for a half hour at a time and then get back to work feeling relaxed.

    So no they do not have to be teaching you anything to be helpful or productive. I blame us falling behind in the world as a result of them teaching "group think" in school and trying their hand at social engineering. While they claim that they want you to be original and creative, they really want you to think just like the person sitting next to you.


  86. Zalethon says:

    The President isn’t saying that video games are the cause of this. He’s saying that children who spend more time playing video games (AND WATCHING TV) spend less time learning, which in most cases is perfectly true.

    I dare you to try and argue that I can learn anything that will be useful–and for the sake of this comment help my SAT score–while simultaneously playing Super Smash Bros. or watching any TV show over the air, (excluding PBS, sometimes) or almost any on basic cable.

    It may be that some teachers need to be more active, (or just plain better) but so do parents and the children themselves. If a child has no motivation for any reason, he won’t be inspired by even the best teacher. This disheartens initially well-meaning teachers, and they lose motivation themselves. It’s a vicious cycle.

    ETA: There’s a lot of educational programming, but you have to pay for it (at least in New York) and I have never seen a kid watch that willingly, who wasn’t just watching it ’cause it was about the military.

  87. Austin_Lewis says:

    Indemnifying teachers seems like the quickest way to bankrupt the school system, honestly.  Besides, even in colleges, you’re not allowed to talk about any ‘controversial’ topics like gun control (there’s been a rash of people being thrown out of school, threatened with disciplinary action, etc., just for talking about the right to keep and bear arms and whether or not it extends to school grounds.  No matter what your take on CCW on campuses, it’s not right to tell adults what they can and can’t discuss.).  Hell, if it wasn’t for FIRE (not the ACLU, they seem to not care about students being fucked over trying to use their first amendment), many of those students would be expelled.

    I agree with the first part though.  Also, they need to waste less money on ‘board rooms’ and ‘staff lounges’ (some schools have HUGE board rooms with three or four flat screen TV’s in them, like in a few districts in Indiana), and spend more money on, say, functioning, non apple, computers.

  88. CyberSkull says:

    Education needs less petty bureaucracy and more inspiring teachers.

    Also, indemnifying the teachers so we could have honest discussions would be nice too.

  89. Yellowchposticks says:

    It’s not that they play less games, it’s that there are tons of gold sellers and etc. over there.  So MMO’s count as working, not gaming.

  90. Cecil475 says:

    Chinese play less videogames? I thought I heard something diffrent, but then again China is the country with all the restrictions. Restrictions on internet as well as gaming. Didn’t one or two hard core gamers from that country die from excessive gaming? How many gamers from this country do that? I could be wrong, but if they are indeed playing less than we are then it has to do with all the restrictions they have there?

     – Warren

    edit – grammar

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  91. mdo7 says:


    uh, Obama.


    If China wasn’t a communist country, they would have the same love of videogames as much as US, Japan, and South Korea!!!  India, well, I’m not sure about that. Look, today’s kid they don’t play and get addicted to game as much as last generation.  The parents are taking much more responsibility on kids and video game.  I’m an avid gamer, but I have a summer internship at NIH so I don’t play much video game as I used to.  I only play much on the weekend. 

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