Saturday, March 15, 2008

If this is Hope, What's the Question? Obama's Education Gap

A recent video of Barack Obama speaking about education raises significant concerns with me about the policies he may pursue going forward. While Obama gets many things right, he still insists than No Child Left Behind (NCLB) can be fixed. It cannot.

And by insisting that it can be fixed, he is advocating more federal interference with school funding, state educational prerogatives and autonomy, and so on. On the flip side of the video I discuss other concerns in greater detail.

At the end of Obama's vision statement he lists a series of crowd-pleasing platitudes, many of which are no more useful than the Bush administration admonishments. He pronounces that parents have to parent! And that there have to be books in the house! And that children should not watch videos, play games, and so on.

And I have to ask the silly question, why is he hammering families working multiple jobs who come home tired, need to do the household necessities to get up to do it all over again. Yes, certainly, parents can help children grow. But many aren't equipped.

And it is nice to advocate more pay for teachers but what about more pay for parents who could spend more time at home instead of working two and three jobs?

And why keep the kids off the streets? How about making the streets safe for kids again, so that they can socialize and play together and understand the other. Why shutter America up?

As Paul Krugman recently said about the economy, "Hope is not a plan."

Obama needs to rethink his education stance because this is important stuff. NCLB must be ended on Day One of the new presidency. It has been worse than a failure, it is an abomination that no amount of fixing can remedy.

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