Every study I have seen of how to raise achievement for students, particularly in low-performing urban and rural schools, indicates that two factors are essential — better teachers and more time for them to teach. It is difficult for regular public schools to follow the most effective charter schools in adding two or three hours to the school day, but they could at least use the six and a half hours they have each day as effectively as possible. The president’s choice of speaking time suggests he doesn’t think such efforts are very important.
Unless a class is studying rhetoric or politics or some other relevant topic, watching the speech is a waste of precious time, Mathews writes.
Don’t expect much controversy, writes Neal McCluskey on Cato@Liberty. The White House won’t release lesson plans unless they’ve been focus-grouped for complete banality. But the benefits of telling students to work hard and stay in school aren’t worth the down side of an “inevitably politicized, time-grabbing” speech.