I look at schools from both sides now …

Barack Obama is on both sides of key education issues, writes Greg Forster on Pajamas Media.

Suppose I told you Candidate A has supported rigorous academic standards, has stood up to the teachers’ unions — even been booed by them at their convention — and proclaimed the free-market principles that schools should compete for students and better teachers should get higher salaries. On the other hand, Candidate B says that competition hurts schools, that kids should be taught a radical left-wing civics curriculum, that we should throw more money at teachers’ unions — excuse me, at schools — and that rigorous academic standards should be replaced with the unions’ old lower-the-bar favorite, “portfolio assessment.”

Candidate A is Barack Obama. So is Candidate B.

On the Republican side, Sarah Palin’s pro-union and pro-spending actions as governor of Alaska don’t match her words as John McCain’s running mate. McCain is consistently pro-choice, writes Forster, but would he follow through as president?

The next president — Barack Obama or John McCain — will be a NCLB-boosting “education president” much like George W. Bush, predicts Jay Mathews of the Washington Post.

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Comments

  1. Robert Wright says:

    Obama doesn’t have a position on education.

    McCain does and I’m 100% in agreement with what McCain says.

    Fox News watching Republicans are so off base I think they might be mentally ill. But they make perfect sense when talking about education. And Democrats, on the subject, sound brain-dead when they open their mouths.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    Mike,

    If you go to the link, the only thing that Obama says about charter schools is that he will close low-performing charter schools. My guess is that the second or third year into the Obama ADmnistraiton, every charter school will be listed as low performing.

    Obama wants better math and science educaiton but will not tolerate speciality pay for math or science teachers.

    Obama also wants tolower drop out rates which means he wants to lower standards not tolerate low achievement.

    If you parse what is written on Obama’s onw web site, the solution is waht is always proposed by the Democratic Party, throw more money at the problem.

  3. SD, that’s fine. I disagree with your reading, but that’s as maybe (fwiw, all schools will be underperforming according to NCLB in 2014, including every charter). What I objected to was Robert’s statement that Obama had no position on education. Saying that you disagree with his position is honest; saying he has no position is lazy or dishonest.

  4. Obama is only consistent about higher pay for teachers. Otherwise, his stands on education are only so much rhetoric — better teachers, high quality schools, better early education, reform NCLB. Blah blah blah…nothing new. So much for change in this area. Be real, Obama supporters, his ed plans aren’t particularly specific, innovative, or challenging to the status quo.

  5. Robert Wright says:

    I plead guilty to being lazy.

    What I mean is that Obama’s education position is virtually meaningless.

    McCain advocates shaking up the education establishment.

    McCain is for choice. Obama is for the teachers’ unions. And since the unions control education, Obama is the candidate for the status quo.

    Obama’s weak approval of charter schools is embarrassing.

    If it weren’t for the fact that McCain is a right-wing lunatic who wants to start wars and destroy the environment, I’d vote for him.

  6. > If it weren’t for the fact that McCain is a right-wing lunatic who wants to start wars and destroy the environment, I’d vote for him.

    I accept your characterization of yourself as lazy since mental illness is the diagnosis of internet psychiatrists everywhere and one of their common characteristics is laziness.

    As for Obama’s weak approval of charter schools, what did you expect?

    While the general lack of satisfaction with the public education system has certainly hurt the political clout of the NEA, it’s still a very big, very important part of the support any Democratic presidential contender would pursue. Since charters are evolving into the single, most potent threat faced by the status quo in education Obama’s wishy-washy support for charters is understandable if not particularly courageous. So Obama makes enough in the way of supportive comments about charters to satisfy one of his primary support groups, blacks, but doesn’t annunciate sufficient support for charters to irritate the NEA.

    All of which proves pretty conclusively that Obama’s idea of change is doing things the same way they’ve always been done.

  7. I’m afraid that I find the loose interpretation of either Obama or McCain’s positions on education to suit the perceived fears of most commenters is troubling. I’m not a fan of the idea that public education is so broken that the fix is to expand charter schools/vouchers nor do I think that simply throwing money at the problems in education solves the problems any better. What has led me to land on Obama’s vision more than McCain’s is that I still believe that public education has value. The expanding and increasingly dynamic needs of students has changed faster than public education has adapted. A strong commitment to reshaping public education is closer to Obama’s position than McCain’s.

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  1. [...] I look at schools from both sides now … On the Republican side, Sarah Palin’s pro-union and pro-spending actions as governor of Alaska don’t match her words as John McCain’s… [...]

  2. [...] I look at schools from both sides now … …union and pro-spending actions as governor of Alaska don’t match her words as John McCain’s running mate. McCain is consistently pro-choice… [...]

  3. [...] I look at schools from both sides now … On the Republican side, Sarah Palin’s pro-union and pro-spending actions as governor of Alaska don’t match her words as John McCain’s… [...]