I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Obama's Mixed Message on Education

I'm voting for Obama, but it's stuff like this - which I'm told airs this Thursday in Virginia and Ohio - that makes it hard for me to do so without holding my nose:

 (0:16) You can't do this just by shoving 30, 35 people in a class, and just teaching to some test.

Seriously?! The Obama administration - which includes the Racin' To The Top maniac Arne Duncan - is going to fault Mitt Romney for pushing education policies that "just teach to some test"?!

The Arne Duncan who pushes what Diane Ravitch calls the "junk science" of test-based teacher evaluation? The Arne Duncan who is using RTTT as a bribe to force states into a regime of test-based teacher evaluation, even though he admits the tests aren't good enough to do the job? The Arne Duncan who is proud to have spent $350 million on test development instead of putting it into the classroom?

I say this as a loyal Democrat and supporter of Barack Obama, but also as someone who has decided it's time to start speaking plainly about education: this ad is telling a lie about Obama's education policies.

No one has done more to strengthen the standardized testing culture that is stifling our public schools than Barack Obama. When you force schools to make high-stakes decisions based on bubble tests, you all but guarantee that the curriculum will focus on those tests. It's absolute nonsense for Obama to infer that he stands against this policy.

And I'd like point out yet again that the Obamas, by sending their own daughters to Sidwell Friends, have decided not to expose their children to the sort of narrow education that follows from an emphasis on bubble tests. It's probably the only issue where I find the President to be a total hypocrite.

Look, I'm not throwing my vote away on a third party candidate. I can't stand Romney for a variety of reasons, and his education polices are worse than Obama's (more on that later).

But crap like this makes it that much harder for me to pull the Democratic lever in November, let alone write a check or do some canvassing (which I did enthusiastically in the last election). Obama shouldn't get to walk away from the havoc he is wreaking on our schools; it annoys me to no end that he will.

On education, can you find much of a difference? I can't.


Deb said...

Not if we have anything to say about it Duke, Obama will not get a free pass on this. Look at Karen Lewis in Chicago (where I am today!), look at Texas (not a bastion of progressive thought) opting out all over, the movements are growing in New Jersey too. Objections to NCLB waivers are growing, and people are calling RtTT what it is. We may need to vote for another Obama term (for certainly Romney would be worse) but we will not - and that includes you for all that you do - let Obama get a free pass on this. We are working now to get the message to the USDOE and the White House and when he is re-elected, we will not stop. We have to remind him of the grass roots start he got and the damage that putting our public schools on the free market is having to our children and our country's future.

Commuting Teacher said...

I was asked to be an Educator for Obama and I had to respectfully decline. First, there is a lot of good he has done and clearly Romney is not a choice for me. I wrote to both Mr. and Mrs. Obama, and Duncan, and I have been railing against their destructive agenda. I also pointed out their hypocritical placement of their children in private schools that are NOT subject to these policies. Yes, when you see Christie and Obama agreeing on something, you can bet it must stink to high heaven.

Thank you for all you do, Mr. Jazzman!

Jon Awbrey said...

Missing Person Report
Last Seen Wearing ________ Uncomfortable Shoes
Location and Date _________ Spartanburg, South Carolina, 3 Nov 2007
Last Heard Exclaiming, 'ere he drove out of sight:

“And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I'll walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”


Deb said...

I love that quote Jon, thank you for finding that which I thought I knew him for but lost touch with along the way....

JerseyJack2001 said...

I'm sorry Duke/Jazzman, but there is no way that I am going to support President Obama this November. I plan to cast my vote for either the Green Party candidate or a Socialist candidate....No, I don't expect thems to win, as either Obama or Romney will naturally take the oath of office on January 20, 2013. Obama did not do us any favor by selecting Arne Duncan as Secreatary of Education...a man who has been a failure in education since the 1990's. I remember when a friend of mine in Fairfax County, VA told me that he was being considered for the Superintendent's job there in 2001 to replace Daniel A. Domenech. I was told that he was laughed at by members of the search committee, including Domenech..his failures are part of the problem we have from the Federal government, and bozo governors, like our King Christie, have been given the keys to the henhouse, to raid and plunder as they see fit.

I teach in an inner-city school district in Hudson County...I have already been given a poor evaluation from my principal (he mailed it to us during the summer!) and in it was a note..."you are on my $**t list!". I am already dreading going in on Friday for pre-planning. This is Obama's fault, by allowing this anti-teacher rhetoric to fester and boil....

No...I will not vote for Obama. I turn my back on him. I also turn my back on my union, as they have no B@lls for fighting Christie and the rest of the turn-coat Democrats!

NYC Educator said...

I'm also finding it impossible to vote for Obama, despite his lip service to reason. As long as Duncan is in charge, taking orders from Gates, there are really very few areas in which their ed. policies differ. Didn't Ravitch write a column wondering why Obama gave Bush a third term in education? I'd argue, with VAM, they managed to make things worse.

I'm looking at Jill Stein this year. I'm a lifelong Democrat, and the first one I voted against was Andrew Cuomo. Unless we get something more than pretty words, Obama will be my next.

I am amazed that our unions did not demand concessions before the elections, as did the LGBT and immigrant communities. The chances of extracting them when he no longer needs our support, to me, appear less than remote.

phila.ken said...

From teh 2009 Annual Report of the Broad Foundation

Page 5
The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned. With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.

Page 10
Prior to becoming U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan was CEO of Chicago Public Schools, where he hosted 23 Broad Residents. Duncan now has five Broad Residents and alumni working with him in the U.S. Department of Education.

See also,


Commuting Teacher said...

I wish an investigation and report on the Broadies would take place. Their influence and destructive powers are mind blowing and the public has NO clue. Where the hell is the media?!