School Scope Column: Halloween Special: Obama’s Pals Are S-c-a-r-y by Norman Scott
Linda/Lisa Debate Educational policy
Before I get into politics, let’s talk education. I watched a webcast of a live debate that took place at Teachers College, Columbia University, between Linda Darling-Hammond, education adviser to Barack Obama, and Lisa Graham Keegan, education adviser to John McCain. I was ready to run up and strangle them both.
Keegan, who headed the Arizona Department of Education and would likely be Education Secretary under McCain, trumpeted the Klein/Sharpton/Michelle Rhee anti-teacher claptrap. It’s not lack of money to reduce class size, but the removal of the “obstacles” –read “teacher contracts” to reform. Unfortunately, Linda was fairly hapless in her responses, especially when she sidestepped Lisa's attempt to pull her into the "Teach for America is wonderful" trap. Linda has been one of the most vociferous critics of the program that parachutes teachers with 8 weeks of training into schools, where all too many TFA teachers stay for their 2-year term and then go off to other careers such as using their “vast” classroom experience to become educational policy makers.
Obama’s praise of Washington DC chancellor Michelle Rhee at one of the debates was disturbing. But Rhee in DC, who comes out of the wonderful world of Joel Klein, is the fair-haired darling of the right, with Democrats quick to jump on board too. Some people find significant differences between McCain and Obama on educational policy. I’m not so sure, but Obama at least has a clue, taking a long-range view of what would work – reaching kids at the earliest age possible and a more realistic use of testing to assess schools within a larger context. And the fact that Darling-Hammond is a key advisor, despite her political toe dance at her debate, is a good thing.
McCain of course wants to expand the privatization of public schools with vouchers and more imposition of the corporate model. How has that concept been working out? McCain signed on to the Klein/Sharpton Educational Equality Project, which at least Obama has refused to do. Why any teacher in NYC who views education as a major voting consideration would even contemplate a vote for McCain is beyond me.
So, I’m reading last week’s Wave and come across an endorsement. For Barack Obama, no less. I’m ready to run down and rescue Editor Howie Schwach, who must be tied and gagged somewhere in the back room to allow this to occur. But not to disappoint. Howie pops up a few pages later with the Acorn/Bill Aires theory of Obama ties to terrorists, voting fraud manipulators and people who have sex with chickens.
Howie spurred me to do my own investigation to check some of the characters Obama has been hanging out with. It’s worse than Howie thought. Much worse. There’s that known war monger Colin Powell, a deserter from the Republican cause. And you know you can’t trust people who hang out with deserters. I even heard Powell disparage the attacks on Obama with the line that all tax policy distributes wealth. Preposterous. Let’s not pay taxes at all. The goal is to have 1% of the people own 99% of the wealth. Not all that long to wait.
Then that well-known socialist/terrorist Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, is an Obama backer. And there are rumors that one of his best friends, Bill Gates, also supports Obama. Now how these supporters of someone who pals around with terrorists and socialists managed to become the two richest men in the world is beyond me. Don’t they know that Obama is a redistributor of wealth?
The Bank of Norm
Speaking of wealth, I’m getting to love those whacky Marxists at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. What next? Nationalize the real estate industry? Ooops. That’s already in McCain’s platform to have the Fed buy up all those toxic mortgages.
I want on the gravy train. I was checking my mattress for lumps the other day and found a few bucks. (My mattress is paying more interest than the bank.) I think I’m going to open the “Bank of Norm.” I just need one of those cash infusions they’re handing out in Washington. I think they want to get some preferred stock in exchange for the cash. I just happen to have 200 shares of Education Notes stock left over from the corporation I set up to publish Ed Notes. Now that it’s mostly online, I think I can spare a few shares. It will be fun having the government as a partner.
I’ll be looking for a place for my bank on 116th Street, which has 12 banks for every person in Rockaway - now that's personal banking. How long will it take for that WAMU/JP Morgan Chase merger to take place and that WAMU office to become available ? I’ll be ready to move right in once Paulson comes through with that cash injection.
I think I’ll be pretty easy giving out loans. If you come in wearing any clothes at all, that is enough collateral for me. And you can even keep the clothes. My plan is to use up that cash injection as fast as I can – maybe faster even than AIG – and head on over to ask for more. Paulson won’t want to see another bank default, so I’ll have no problem. Might even head on down south and hold me one of them junkets.
Don’t think I’m just giving out loans at the “Bank of Norm.” I’ll be taking deposits too. I can even save you the step of taking the money out of your mattress. Just bring the entire thing in and I’ll take care of you. You see, I have a side deal with Sleepys. And if things don’t work out? Why I’ll just open me a diner of sorts to replace my bank. Thinking of calling it the “Sunset Diner.”* Pretty catchy, don’t ya think?
Michael Bloomberg's Velvet Coup
Mugabe? OK, it's an outrageous comparison. Forgive me. Mike Bloomberg would never shut down newspapers or use brutal thugs against dissenters in order to hold onto power. He doesn't have to. He buys them. This is a must read by Tom Robbins in the October 22, 2008 Village Voice
Mucho kudos to Howie Greene for his powerful “Dear Bubby and Zaidy” column in last week’s Wave questioning some of the illogical resistance to Obama by Jews. I posted it on my blogs and on listserves. I hope it goes far and wide.
Look for Norm’s column “Politically Unstable,” commentary on non-educational matters, which will appear occasionally in these pages. Norm writes more of this drivel every day at his blog http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The Wave has been Rockaway Beach's (in Queens in NYC) community newspaper since 1893. And no, I haven't been writing the column since then.
* For non-Rockawayites, the long time Sunset Diner with spectacular views of the city and the sunsets - duh - was recently replaced by an HSBC bank.