First Lady Urges Vets to Enlist as Teachers

From Associated Press

First Lady Laura Bush called on veterans Tuesday to continue their service to the nation by becoming teachers.

Soldiers and elementary school students gave a thunderous cheer as Mrs. Bush urged troops at Ft. Jackson, the Army’s largest basic training base, to consider second careers in classrooms.

“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,” Mrs. Bush said.


“The challenge is different, but the reward is great,” the first lady told the soldiers.

The former second-grade teacher and librarian wants to recruit more people to teach through the federal program “Troops to Teachers,” which has helped place more than 4,000 veterans in classrooms since 1994.

The program initially offered $5,000 to help veterans take teacher training courses and become certified. The money ran out faster than expected, but the first lady said President Bush supports a plan to increase funding to $30 million from $3 million annually.

“My husband thought I was kidding when I told him I was going to call in the military,” she said.

Military personnel make great teachers because they have been taught to overcome challenges, set goals and achieve results, she said.

“You have what it takes for this honorable assignment. Many of you have science, math and engineering degrees, disciplines that our children desperately need,” Mrs. Bush said. “Beyond that, you’re tremendous role models with a sense of duty, honor and of country that our children would do well to emulate.”