Sunday, November 25, 2012

Obama: Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Leonie Haimson has a great new piece pointing out that the preposterous things we demand from American children don't apply to the kids of the President of the United States. Sasha and Malia attend the Sidwell Friends School, where they are not subject to high-stakes tests, and where they enjoy small class sizes. Obama was very vocal in criticizing Romney for opposing reasonable class sizes, yet his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, did the same thing months earlier.

One would think this would suggest a change in Education Secretaries for term two, but one would be mistaken. Many public school parents and working teachers are upset with his insane and non-science-based policies, but it appears we're headed for more of the same. I often question why the NEA and AFT supported a second term for such policies and I get varying responses. One is that Romney would have been worse. Indeed, Romney supported not only all the crap Obama supports, but also vouchers. However, Obama's education policies are pretty bad, as evidenced by supporters like Jeb Bush.

The other talking point I get from union reps is that Obama has said many positive things about class size, but again he never refuted Duncan's contradictory statements. More importantly, there has been absolutely no action to support these words. Also, Obama has spoken out against excessive testing, but policies like Race to the Top and Common Core will almost certainly exacerbate the problem. Sad to say, his words look very much like lip service, and, unless they are accompanied by deeds, will surely be meaningless.

Would it have been tougher for a GOP President to have enabled such things? Probably. Democrats may have opposed such nonsense on principle had it been suggested by a Republican. But we are Barack Obama's Sister Souljah moment, and nonsensical VAM evaluations will surely result in teachers being fired for no reason whatsoever. However, now that Democrats have jumped on the "reform" bandwagon, this is a tough issue for us. Until these programs fail, as they certainly will, and enough people notice it, which may or may not happen, we're stuck here.

We missed a golden opportunity by not making demands before endorsing Obama. LGBT and immigrant groups extracted concessions from this President, and I marvel day after day why our union leaders, in what promised to be a very close election, did not deem this worth negotiating over.
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