Thursday, February 26, 2009

Revisiting Obama's speech

Nothing good?

Sadly, my friend Deb Meier finds nothing to support in Obama’s speech or in his education plan. Or if she really does, she won't mention it. Oh well. At least she didn’t call his month-0ld administration, President Bush’s “third term in education policy” like her blog partner Diane Ravitch did ("Is Arne Duncan Really Margaret Spellings in Drag? “).

While I share some of the same criticisms of Obama’s speech and of his developing program, I think Deb attributes much more to him than he deserves and puts some words in his mouth in order to knock them down. For example, Deb accuses Obama of "confusing tests with being well-educated." Of course, he never said anything like that.

Acutally, here's Obama's views on testing from his famous education speech in Dayton, Ohio:

Labeling a school and its students as failures one day and then throwing your hands up and walking away from them the next is wrong. (Applause.)

And don't tell us that the only way to teach a child is to spend most of the year preparing him to fill in a few bubbles on a standardized test. (Cheers, applause.) I don't want teachers to the -- teaching to the test. I don't want them uninspired and I don't want our students uninspired. (Applause.) So what I've said is we will measure and hold accountable performance, but let's help our teachers and our principals develop a curriculum and assessments that teach our kids to become not just good test-takers. We need assessments that can improve achievement by including the kinds of research and scientific investigation and problem-solving that our children will need to compete in a 21st century knowledge economy. And we have to make sure that subjects like art and music are not being crowded out of the curriculum. And that's what we will do when I'm president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.)

Not bad. Anyway, her essay is certainly worth reading--as always. And thanks once again, for plugging my blog (and Mike Rose's) Deb.

Rotherham at Eduwonk scores a point here:

President Obama said exactly this about charter schools tonight:

“And we will expand our commitment to charter schools.”

But judging by the various strong reactions over in The Arena at Politco you’d think that was the subject of the speech…or even just the education part…rather than a single sentence.

Gee, I wonder why they didn’t pick out words like, “historic investment in education?”

Who invented the automobile?

Did Barack really say that the automobile was an American invention?

Not so. The gasoline-powered car was actually invented by Al Gore Karl Benz (as in Mercedes), who obviously didn’t realize what a jam he was sticking us in, back in 1878. His invention did help pull Germany out of its post-WWI depression and was central to Hitler’s re-industrialization plans. Henry Ford, an admirer of Hitler's created assembly-line production. Some say, the beginning of the end for capitalism.


  1. Mike,
    You've overstated Meier's position. She was only talking about the education piece of Obama's speech in her blog. You make it sound like she's against Obama's entire program. You know she's not. Meier is no Ravitch as you know from reading their blog arguments.

  2. You are right Ted. Thanks and see my apologetic post above.


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