HELENA – Speaking to the Democratic National Convention, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau on Wednesday night praised President Barack Obama for making historic investments in higher education and making college more affordable.

“As Democrats, we believe that every child, regardless of background or ability, is entitled to an excellent education,” Juneau said in remarks prepared for delivery. “Our determination to strengthen our schools to provide a 21st century education for every child drives us to work to reelect President Barack Obama.

“President Obama knows that education is the best investment an individual can make in themselves, that a family can make in its children, that a nation can make in its people.”

Juneau told the crowd at the convention in Charlotte, N.C., that she was proud to be there as a Montanan, as an educator, as a Democrat, as a member of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes and as the first Native American woman to win a statewide election in U.S. history.

Her parents, Stan and former state Sen. Carol Juneau, now of Great Falls, told her that education was the path to success, she said, and they showed her by taking her to Head Start while they were pursuing college degrees. Both Denise and Carol Juneau are delegates to the convention.

Juneau, raised in Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, received a degree in English from Montana State University, earned a master’s in education from Harvard University and graduated from the University of Montana School of Law.

“President Obama knows that that the value of education is not just in the equations our students memorize or the books they read,” she said. “For some students, school is the only place where they get a hot meal and a warm hug. Teachers are sometimes the only ones who tell our children they can go from an Indian reservation to the Ivy League, from the home of a struggling single mom to the White House.”

Juneau was elected state superintendent of public instruction in 2008 and is seeking re-election this year.

“Teachers do the noble work of educating our children,” Juneau said. “And we can’t thank them enough for the hard work they put in every day to ensure a bright future for all of us.”

It is in schools where “we pass down our stories and our history,” Juneau said. “And in my family, that American history goes back centuries – back to the first residents: Native Americans.”

She said Obama understands that the Native American story includes “both painful chapters and hopeful ones” and “knows it is part of America’s story and that we deserve to be part of the American dream.”

“That is why he welcomed the tribal nations to the White House and joined them at the table,” Juneau said. “He signed the Cobell settlement to correct a long-standing injustice that Elouise Cobell, a warrior woman, fought for 15 long years.”

She was referring to the class action lawsuit Cobell filed against two federal departments on behalf of Native Americans contending they had incorrectly accounted for income from Indian trust assets. A $3.4 billion settlement was reached.

Obama also has made investments to prevent violence against women in Native communities and to increase opportunities for Native youth and veterans, Juneau said.

“And when he brought health care to all Americans, he helped build hospitals, train nurses and ensure healthy moms and healthy babies in tribal communities,” Juneau said.

She said it was a proud day in Montana when Obama visited the Crow Nation and became an adopted Crow tribal member. He was given a Crow name, “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.”

“That is more than an adopted name,” Juneau said. “That is at the core of who he is. It is his mission. And that is why, this November, we will re-elect President Barack Obama.”

In response to Juneau’s speech, her Republican opponent, Sandy Welch of Martin City, said, “For over two decades the Office of Public Instruction has been controlled by Democrats. Education can no longer be a political issue. It is time that education become a Montana issue.”

Welch quoted former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying that “lax standards and false praise” can no longer be accepted in our education system.

“I agree with Dr. Rice, and I don’t believe our teachers or students need lax standards or false praise to reach their potential,” Welch said. “They need a superintendent that believes in their ability to succeed and one that will be their mentor and resource in succeeding.”

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(10) comments


For those of you who like to complain about that education of our youth is solely on the backs of our Montana educators, you need to delve a little deeper into why our student scores aren't at the top. Students need to come to school ready to learn, however, when they are hungry, tired, or stressed because of family issues, they can't learn, their brain does not allow it. Until the United States wants to look at the poverty and family issues that interfere with student coming to school ready to learn, our scores will not reach the level of other countries. Don't but the blame on the teachers, put the blame on yourselves for not advocating for the students who struggle just to exist. School is a safe haven and surviving is their priority, not learning.


Too bad the numbers/stats tell a different story than the liberals do.... time to get rid of the Federal oversight of the education, and let the States take care of their own. Too much money has been wasted on bureaucracy and not enough spent on giving our children a true education.

Born Here

Why is a Montana public employee even speaking at the DNC?? Who paid for her to get there? Who is paying for her room/food? “As Democrats, we believe" Who gave her permission to speak for me?? Who says I'm a Democrat? So Montana is all Democrats?

open mind

Denise Juneau was a duly elected delegate sent by the Montana State Democratic Party, chosen at the Montana State Democratic Convention on June 9th. All of the expenses incurred by each delegate are their personal responsibility. As the first American Indian elected to a state wide office, she was invited to address the convention.


Denise Juneau - you rocked the convention hall! Thanks for representing our native students and ALL Montana students AND teachers with such dignity, truth and clarity. Everyone (including the two immaturish, angry posters above) can learn from Denise, her Mom, former state senator Carol Juneau, and Nancy Keenan, our former Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction, who spoke with great fire and energy earlier at the DNC. We have strong WOMEN LEADERSHIP IN MONTANA, so get used to it.


Sandy wants politics out of education yet she runs under a party? Why not run as independent from any party then Sandy? And she says she wants to be a mentor and resource.....more bs coming out of her mouth. The woman was literally never around when she was principal of Ronan High School. How can someone who is nearly impossible (or invested in their job for that matter) to track down be a resource and a mentor?


Countries which belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) produce two-thirds of the world’s goods and services. The United States of America is the only OECD country where 25-34 year-olds are not better educated than 55-64 year-olds.
Assessment scores in reading , math and science are embarrassing:

Reading –
1 China: Shanghai 556
2 Korea 539
3 Finland 536
4 Hong Kong 533
5 Singapore 526
6 Canada 524
7 New Zealand 521
8 Japan 520
9 Australia 515
10 Netherlands 508
17 United States 500

Overall Mathematics
1 China: Shanghai 600
2 Singapore 562
3 Hong Kong 555
4 Korea 546
5 Chinese taipei 543
6 Finland 541
7 Liechtenstein 536
8 Switzerland 534
9 Japan 529
10 Canada 527
31 United States 487

1 China: Shanghai 575
2 Finland 554
3 Hong Kong 549
4 Singapore 542
5 Japan 539
6 Korea 538
7 New Zealand 532
8 Canada 529
9 Estonia 528
10Australia 527
23 United States 502

We spend 25% of GDP/Capita on education (Some of the highest in the world) and have
our ratings at:

Reading: 17 United States 500
Math: 31 United States 487
Science: 23 United States 502

This is a reflection of our liberal controlled education system, "lax standards and false praise". Move the kids up a class even if they have not completed the requirements satisfactorily. A move to make everybody equal. I think it is a move to make everybody fail!


Ah, now the Montana right-wing hillbilly 8th grade drop outs start spouting off about evil socialist teachers making too much money thru their communist unions, and that Kenyan in the White House, and besides who needz a edumakation anyways, I can just turn on them smart news reader x-perts on Fox Nooze and be smart as a earthworm in a hour or so....

dave ajou
dave ajou

Don't quit your day job.


For all those in Montana who are too stupid, or too busy, or too indifferent, at least, now you know for sure where this Juneau stands. She is an arch leftist and loyal stooge for this monster Obama.

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