Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Did Obama Fail His Ed Test?

So what exactly did Obama say in his speech tonight about reforming education? You see, it's not just about getting resources for schools but about, you know, reform. Like incentives for teachers - you know - merit pay. And charters. And early childhood ed. Well. 1 out of 3 ain't zero.

But as you drill down it gets worse. Shame on you if you don't graduate from not only high school, but college. Does he know that an overwhelming number of jobs over the next decade - if there are any – will not require a college education? I mean, he is telling us his stimulus plan will stimulate infrastructure jobs - mostly vocational-like skills that do not come from a college education. Then in the next breath he makes it look like you are a failure and unpatriotic if you don't go to college. If anything, he should have talked about NOT going to college and learning how to do the kinds of work with your hands that is so missing in this society.

Other than the education aspect, I like the speech. But then again, all I really have any understanding about is education. If I knew economics, I might be screaming bloody murder.

6 comments:

  1. I wasn't thrilled with what he had to say about education. I think we may be looking at more of the same. I did notice, however, that in an environment of nonstop clapping, when he mentioned that we must have "reform" there was a mere trickle of response.
    Now, of course, if we were looking at true reform, it would be a different matter, but I got the impression that he was pandering to the privatization people.
    I understand that he needs to try to include both sides if he is to bring some kind of unification to this very divided country, yet I have zero tolerance for political pandering when it comes to the welfare of children.

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  2. You did hear how he wants more Charter schools and teacher accountability. Just the issues those pusedo-reformers under Klein brings up.

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  3. Obama did say that "post-high-school education" includes community college, vocational training, and the military. And I think we can all agree that a high school diploma, by itself, doesn't mean much to employers in skilled vocational trades, but a diploma plus an internship or a vocational certification would.

    I fondly remember a former student of mine who was special ed and struggled with academics a great deal, but had a wonderful personality and also loved to tinker with machinery. He was offered an apprenticeship with an HVAC company, and I'm sure in a couple of years, he will be out-earning me.

    I see nothing wrong with encouraging students to complete education beyond high school, as long as the "beyond high school" option is right for the student.

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  4. Thanks for your site. I was feeling pretty despondent after listening to Obama's view about charters once again.

    These days are a particularly harrowing time in Oakland for watching charter favoritism vs. even more starvation for the regular public schools. As the term of our third, and possibly last, Broad Superintendent (courtesy of the CA State Superintendent who received campaign contributions from Broad, et al) comes to a close, he is trying to grease the way for as many new charters he possibly can. Sixteen percent of our district's enrollment now attends charter schools.

    Two of the high performing ones, you know the type (highly selective but will deny it to the end) received $230,000 each from the Walmart billionaires in 2007. For one school this worked out to an additional $2300/student. For the other it was an additional $7667/student. Walmart would never give a cent to our regular public schools.

    Trust me, Obama, charter schools are not the way to go.

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  5. In all fairness, I think the president was throwing the republicans a bone. He does not want to appear to be too liberal, so... You might also recall, in one of his debates he spoke about his support for charter schools to demonstrate that he does not always go with the union. To his credit, he is far more transparent then some other politicians.

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  6. I tend to agree with the above anonymous statement that Obama was throwing the Republicans "a bone." However, I'm not sure that sacrificing children to placate political feelings is appropriate and/or moral.

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