The next education president: Barack Obama

The Fordham guys find reasons to cheer Barack Obama’s election:

1. In a year when the Democratic nominee was practically guaranteed to win the White House, the most reform-minded Democratic candidate won. While his education policies are inchoate and imperfect, Barack Obama’s positions on charter schools, merit pay, and even No Child Left Behind point toward a thoughtfulness and willingness to buck the status quo that were strikingly different from the postures of his closest competitors.

2. Support from the teacher unions was not essential to Obama’s sweeping victory and frees him — if he’s so inclined — to advance policies and programs that they don’t love, perhaps starting with charter schools (one of the few issues enjoying bipartisan support during this election).

On the other hand, education won’t be a top priority issue in 2009, they write, and it will be tough to buy education reform with new money.

Somewhat off topic, but I love The Onion’s story:

WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation’s broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, “It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can’t catch a break.”

OK, more than one other person applied.

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Comments

  1. Sister Howitzer says:

    Obama has used Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts as an example of a model for improving struggling schools. From this article,

    “Obama told an invitation-only gathering in the auditorium that he was impressed that the school was the state’s first istrict public high school to get 100 percent of its 44 seniors into a four-year college. He praised the innovative methods of the faculty and principal Michael Johnston, who has advised Obama on education reform.”

    But the school website shows unimpressive scores and laughable standards.

    If anyone knows how this school managed to get 100% of its students into a 4 year college with these scores, I’d like to hear about it.

  2. Bill Leonard says:

    Barack Hussein Obama may or may not be the first “education president.” It’s a pretty good bet he will try to be the first socialist president.

    Bill

  3. It’s going to be impossible to improve schools much as long as they continue to be a topic of conversation among high level politicians at the federal level.

    Their goal is to get votes, a task which gets their zealous attention. The nonstop peddling of change has become the problem it is pretending to solve.

  4. Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts has only been around for a few years. It does have low test scores and below-average ACT scores; its state rating is “low.” I assume they got their seniors into non-selective colleges.

  5. I worked in a charter school last year, and the administration pulled every trick in the book (including using personal connections), to get students into college.
    Colleges love to bring in urban students to boost their diversity status, despite what happens to the students in successive years.

  6. Sister Howitzer says:

    “Colleges love to bring in urban students to boost their diversity status, despite what happens to the students in successive years.”

    I hope someone is following these kids to see how many graduate.

  7. Homeschooling Granny says:

    I don’t see anything in Barack Obama’s background to indicate he has solutions in education. The one time he was an executive it was in educational reform and although the Chicago Annenberg Challenge spent 110 million under his leadership, it’s own final report stated that it made no measurable improvement. There are other reasons to favor Obama as President but not for what he is likely to do for education.

  8. Why should a politician take on public education when most people seem to be resigned to leaving things like they are? I’m starting to think educational reform won’t happen until parents are rioting in the streets and refusing to send their kids to school.

  9. I have the feeling that Barack Obama is going to make Franklin D. Roosevelt look like Adam Smith.

    It’s going to be a liberal gutting of the U.S. just as bad as the conservative gutting of the U.S. we got from George W. Bush. The two groups just end up destroying different things for different reasons.

    The extreme Republicans had power for 8 years, and ran amuck with it. Now the extreme Democrats have the power, and they’re planning on running amuck too, as well as exacting some revenge for the last 8 years.

    The average American, trying to work hard, get an education, maintain their family and who believes that we are (or are supposedly still) an upwardly mobile society, are caught in the middle.

    As for the main question here – Obama won’t be an “education President”. Not unless by ‘education’ you mean “individualism is frowned upon, and only politically correct ideas may be spoken or written.” Perhaps we should start being careful about what we say in public or post online in the coming years, or else become political targets ourselves…

  10. While his education policies are inchoate and imperfect, Barack Obama’s positions on charter schools, merit pay, and even No Child Left Behind point toward a thoughtfulness and willingness to buck the status quo that were strikingly different from the postures of his closest competitors.

    Not to dissent but…….if his policies are inchoate how do they point to anything? Have another swig of KoolAid Obamabot.