SPEECH WRITING

I know people use speech writers all the time. But the $10,000 10-page speech given by Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist to the General Assembly last month bothers me a lot.

First I am bothered by the price – $1000 per page. I wish I had known that, I would have gone into speech writing! No, the price doesn’t bother me especially as it was not paid for with our tax dollars.

Seriously, what bothers me is that the Education Commissioner is the one who needed a speech writer. I would have assumed that to reach the position of Education Commissioner, Ms. Gist would have a certain amount of education under her belt. Well, I don’t just assume that, I looked it up. As a matter of fact, her focus in her earliest years of teaching was on literacy (the ability to read and write). I would expect her to be erudite enough to turn a phrase. Shouldn’t this woman be able to write a speech herself? Perhaps if it was a speech she had to give in Washington in her attempt to get RI the Race To The Top funding we so desperately need, I would be a bit more understanding. The competition is great and she is competing with people who have a similar or even better background than she has. But the General Assembly? The yahoos in the RI General Assembly? My husband joked that perhaps she needed a speech writer to dumb herself down for them. But really, wouldn’t you expect an educator to be able to write a speech? Did someone ghost write her Master’s Thesis?

Am I the only one who finds this odd? I really have not seen or heard much comment on it.

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