Friday, July 4, 2008

Where is Obama on Education?

Obama said the critical factor in student achievement is teacher quality—a line warmly received by the reform camp. And at Kettering University in Michigan this Monday, Obama called for the recruitment of new teachers and welcomed charter schools—another nod to reformers. But since Obama has yet to address the thorny issues in education, like how to deal with the teachers and administrators who are failing, Brooks questions whether Obama really deserves reformer status. Brooks calls the senator "all carrot, no stick."

Brooks contrasts Obama's stickless stance with the big risks Mayor Adrian Fenty is taking in Washington by supporting Rhee, an aggressive reformer. But Fenty took on those risks after he was elected to office with 89 percent of the vote. And if he had campaigned on a platform of "I promise, if elected, to close 23 schools and fire a few dozen principals," he might not have fared so well. Consider too that the McCain campaign has kept all but mum on issues of national education, so there's little incentive for Obama to rush into the bloodiest part of the policy battle. With all the anxiety and tumult surrounding the subject, it's little wonder the nitty-gritty of education reform isn't at the top of anybody's campaign agenda.

Read it all here.

1 comment:

Connie Cassels said...

Incredible! I'm an educator and in a world of NCLB accountability, I can assure the general public that the primary concern for education in America has nothing to do with teacher quality. We have some of the most excellent, highly qualified teachers in the world. I think we've missed the boat thinking that every student needs a college-preparatory curriculum, because that's all we seem to focus on. Beginning this school year, a high school senior in the state of Louisiana will have to have 24 Carnegie units (credits) to graduate, most of which include 4 units each of college prep math, science, English, and history. What's wrong with this picture? Statistically, only 5-10% of the entire population ever attend college with only approximately 2% actually finishing to attain a college degree. Where's the funding promised for more vocational programs! So many of our students need job training, training to be skilled craftsmen, plumbers, electricians, etc. For the most part, it's simply not available as a part of their 4-year high school program. It is my observation over a 16-year career, that is why we're "leaving so many students behind."