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  • 8/2/2019 April Hit 33 Claremore


    H elping students aspire to successAT&T is honored to help America's children Aspire to success.One in four s tudents - more than 1 mil l ion s tudents a year - fa i lsto graduate high school with their class. This is one of our nation'smost cri t ical problems, part icularly in an era w hen comp eti tion forjobs among people and, indeed, among nations is becom-ing evermore intense.Over the las t four years , our Aspire program hasworked w ith organizations across the country to helpreverse this trend to reach the national goal of a 90% high

    school graduation ra te by 2020. AT&T Aspire has a lreadyimpacted over 1 mil l ion s tudents with $100 m ill ion inves t-ed s ince 2008.Although the high school dropout ra te has shownimprovement, we can do more. In fact , we 're doublingdown on American s tudents and Am erica 's future .In our continued effort to address this critical issue, weare excited to launch a new phase of A spire - a $250 m il-lion investment planned over five years that will furtherbuild on our existing initiative to help more students graduate fromhigh school prepared for careers and college, and to ensure ournation is better prepared for global competition.Here in O klahoma, public of f ic ials and educators have placed apremium on education, and we are delighted to have had an opportu-nity to play a role in their success.With our new phase of Aspire , we ' l l take a "socially innovative"approach that goes beyond traditional philanthropy, engaging peopleand technology to create new and dif ferent solutions to socia l prob-lems.In today's world, the mobile Internet is omnipresent. Students -of all ages - are adept at using this powerful resource, and it is criti-cal that its potent power be harnessed for the cause of education.Our AT& T Foundry innovation centers wil l work with educators andother companies to f ind f resh or a typical approaches to improve edu-cation. The new A spire wil l a lso leverage technology to connect withs tudents in new and m ore ef fective ways . And you can expect to seea part icular emphas is on gamif icat ion (us ing game techniques toteach students math, science, and other applications), mobile applica-t ions , video and social media - the communications environments in

    which m any of today's s tudents are most comfortable - to ins t i ll anew level of excitement into learning.But technology alone w il l not solve the education challenge. I ttakes people too.We plan to take our current Job Shadow program to anew level with the Aspire M entoring Academy, a programthat will provide more opportunit ies for our em ployees towork closely with s tudents most a t- risk of dropping out tohelp them succeed in their c lass rooms and in l i fe . S tudentsand mentors w il l be matched on the bas is of shared inter-ests and will work together to explore and solve real-life,on- the- job bus iness problems. They wil l a lso have theopportunity to participate in e-mentoring, specifically in thefields of science, technology, engineering and math(STEM). Some 100,000 s tudents part ic ipated in the AT&TJob Shadow init ia t ive with Junior Achievement to date ,including over 2,100 in Oklahoma.Local comm unity organizations wil l be vi ta l to the suc-cess of Aspire and our plans call for providing financial support tothose groups that deliver genuine results in helping students learn.Thanks to the commitment of our employees and manyOklahoma organizations , our ini t ia l $100 mill ion inves tment in highschool success and college and career readiness has made a pos i t iveimpact . The Oklahoma Aspire inves tment has amounted to over $3.3mill ion s ince 2008.We're excited to expand our inves tment in this great resource -our children 's education - with our new commitment.

    There 's no doubt that our inves tment in Aspire is an inves tmentin America 's future , and, indeed, our own. A t AT& T, we believe thatpeople are the critical differentiators in our industry, especially giventhe lightning-fast pace of technological evolution. And Aspire helpsto create a pipeline of diverse talent for all U.S. companies, includ-ing AT&T.Our children are the key to our future . And joining together in thecommun it ies where our employees and cus tomers l ive and work, wecan make a dif ference in the l ives of s tudents and families and in ourown com munit ies and across the nation.Bryan Gonterman is pres ident of AT&T Oklahoma.

    B R Y A NG O N T E R M A N

    S e n . S e a nB u r r a g e

    R E P . B E N S H E R R E R

    Th e 2012 G erry Ford testI t was rightly said of Pres ident Harry Trum an that he l iked beingHarry Truman: He w as comfortable being Harry Truman; he neverthought about being anybody else but Harry Truman.Equally comfortable in his own skin was Pres ident Gerald R.Ford, who m ore than once quoted Harry Truman on the iso-lation of flattery to which occupants of the Oval Office soregularly succumb: "The Pres ident hears one hundred voiceste l ling him that he is the greates t man in the world. He m ustlisten carefully indeed to hear the one voice that tells him heisn't."In the 12 pres identia l campaigns I have been luckyenough to work in or cover, I have never observed a pres i-dentia l nominee more emotionally healthy than Gerald Ford.Most pres identia l candidates are so consum ed by ambit ionA R K Sfor the office they lust after that they end up spending toomuch o f their t ime and l ives plot t ing or m anipulat ing to get there .As a R epublican representat ive f rom G rand Rapids , Mich. , and asthe GOP's H ouse minori ty leader, Ford had the then-unrealis t ic goalof becoming speaker af ter leading Republicans to a majori ty in theHouse. Along the w ay, he ins tead af ter the forced res ignations ofVice Pres ident Spiro Agnew and Pres ident Richard Nixon became

    the president of a divided and disheartened nation.Gerry Fo rd, ref reshingly f ree of neuroses or se lf - importance, wasMidwestern open and American natural . Voters responded. His 71percent job-approval ra t ing som e 44 points above the res igningNixon's w as the highes t given any pres ident in 10 years .Then Gerald Ford l is tened not to any White House palace guardor campaign mavens .He put principle over poli t ical populari ty and conscious ly sabo-taged his own chances for re-elect ion by p ardoning Richard M.Nixon.Like too m any others a t the t ime, I s l ipped f rom skeptic ism intocynicism, sure that the pardon must have been part of a secret deal

    for Nixon to leave and F ord to rise . Pres ident Ford 's poll numbersbegan the s teep drop down to 37 percent approval .I , and every other cynic , was absolute ly wrong. What Pres identFord did in pardoning Nixon was both courageous and w ise .Thus did the m an who took pride in the fact that he onlyhad mo mentary adversaries and no poli t ical enemies save hisfe l low A mericans f rom continuing to tear themselves apartover Richard Nixon. His m oral courage (he had a lready, ashis 10 Wo rld War II battle stars attested, proved his physicalcourage) made it possible for the healing of the nation tobegin.After the 1976 Kansas City Repub lican convention,where a switch of jus t 59 of the 2,257 delegates to Ronald

    H I E L D S Reagan would have cos t him the nom ination, President Fordon Labor D ay tra i led his Democratic challenger, J immyCarter, by 30 points in the polls.That year, more than 81.5 m il l ion Am ericans voted for pres ident .That meant Ford in September was m ore than 24 mil l ion votesbehind Carter.By a bri l l iant campaign ef fort , Ford c losed the gap to the pointwhere on E lection Day, w ith a switch of only 12,740 votes in Ohioand Miss iss ippi , he would have won the White House. The b ad tas telef t f rom the N ixon pardon changed his tory.Regardless of your personal leanings or loyalties, are you opti-mistic, let alone confident, that your preferred 2012 presidential can-didate would jeopardize vic tory in November to say nothing ofhis entire political career by daring to stare into his own politicalgrave and to put principle above populari ty and the health of thenation ahead of his own am bit ion?Is i t too much to ask for a pres ident in 2013 who could pass theGerry Ford test?Mark Shields is a political columnist and regular contributor toPBS's NewsHour .

    VoiceYourOpin ionShare your opinions and view points by sub-m i t t i n g a l e t t e r t o t h e e d i t o r .Letter s should be 200 wor ds or less and aresubject to editing for gr ammar and style by the

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    rcowlin ggclaremoreprogress.com .Letters from local residents are preferred.

    PAGE 4A CLAREMORE PROGRESS SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012 PINIO Nwww.claremoreprogress.com

    "Broad-minded is just another wayof saying a fellow is too lazyto form an opinion."- Will Rogers

    "Where the press is free andevery man able to read,all is safe."

    - Thomas Jefferson

    Senate R eviewThis past week, the State Treasurer held his monthlypress conference to discuss the la tes t report on Oklahoma'srevenue collect ions . These numbers are one way to m ea-

    sure how the s ta te 's economy is doing. For two yearswe've seen Oklahoma's revenue moving upward m onthlyeach month 's report has been welcome new

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