Obama’s education policies

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait
of US President Barack Obama
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just as Romney fans back fake choice that means privatization, so Obama boosters rally around public education which currently does not allow the public any real input or control whatsoever (and charters are ok, too).  One thing done and little remarked on, has been to raise the compulsory attendance age meaning police will be used to ensure attendance, which generates income. And, following suit, truancy actions against kids and families have grown apace.

Note: This blog argues that really public public schools means every family in every school should start having choices; schools should be meeting the many needs of their districts, from preschool to extra-curricular, afternoon, and evening classes and support by working with parents in a cooperative manner. Schools should be a resource for parents and children instead of manufacturing credentials and striving for uniformity of knowledge. This has not been done because compulsory attendance laws have created an enforcement and anti-family approach that is the opposite of how a public system should work.  Homeschooling isn't the experiment: mass schools are a new institution and homeschooling is a grassroots response to institutional overreach.  Whenever there's a problem, the system uses its legal arm and that is a real problem for democracies. The system doesn't learn to work and build with families or communities to grow the mediation services, program changes, and and innovations that would grow naturally strong if the power relationship was different.  Schools that are open source, citizen-access resource centers for learning services are not on any political party's agenda.

 Obama, GOP duel over rising college expenses - US News and World Report: "WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama would make tax credits for college expenses permanent and expand Pell grants for students from lower-earning families. The Republican team of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would emphasize the need to curb rising tuitions and federal education spending that are burdening families and the government."

Obama Campaign Emphasizes College Affordability | Inside Higher Ed: "Although the student loan interest rate crisis of the summer has been resolved, college affordability has continued to play a role in President Obama's campaign. In an event Tuesday at Capital University, in Ohio, Obama focused on his administration's support for the Pell Grant and criticized his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, for telling college students concerned about tuition prices to "shop around," according to The Plain Dealer. The Obama campaign has sought to emphasize its student loan and Pell Grant policies in recent days, as the entrance of Representative Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate has renewed debates about federal education funding: also on Tuesday, the campaign introduced a website about income-based student loan repayment."

Talk About Poverty: Mariana Chilton's Questions for Obama and Romney | The Nation:  "2) Before the recession, 70 percent of households with food-insecure children had at least one parent that was employed full-time. Such a high percentage of “working hungry” American families suggests that US corporations and businesses are not paying adequate wages for American families to keep food on the table. As president, what will you do not only to increase the number of jobs available, but to improve wages in order to help Americans feed themselves, their children, and afford basic necessities?"

Obama’s Education Policy: "TAYLOR: I think Obama's policy can be characterized as a policy anchored by a big 800 pound gorilla and a couple of small midgets. The 800 pound gorilla is the Race to the Top Policy, which essentially oscillates around what we call high-stakes testing. And that's based on the idea in principle that the way in which you can evaluate standards, whether or not kids are reaching standards and whether or not you can determine the effectiveness of teachers and the effectiveness of schools, is through a process of high-stakes testing. And how kids perform on these tests, which are for the most part designed by states, or how they fare on those tests will determine whether or not the schools become what they call persistently low-achieving schools, or PLAs. And if they become PLAs, it means that their schools can be put on probation, undergo radical transformations and changes, or they can be forced to close. At the same time, based on the performance on these tests, the quality of instruction at these schools will be determined, and that could impact in a very negative way. Teachers and/or principals can be eliminated. That's the heart of it."

More at The Real News 'via Blog this'

JAY: Okay. So is there anything in President Obama—Henry, just a quick take—anything in President Obama's education policies you liked?

TAYLOR: Absolutely. I think I said that it's characterized by an 800 pound gorilla and a couple of midgets. The midgets are the choice neighborhood initiatives and the promised neighborhood initiatives. I think those are two exciting programs that create the connection between schools and neighborhood reform that have enormous promise. And in a certain odd sense of the word, these two initiatives have created grave diggers for Race to the Top. Now, these two gravediggers are very weak, very fragile, and very frail, but nonetheless they exist, and they create opportunities for neighborhoods and communities to work together to come up with some very innovative ways in which to alter the process of schooling and education.

Are the President's Education Policies Helping Our Kids? | | AlterNet: "Educators alone simply cannot fix such entrenched social problems. But they might make better progress with equitable school funding to ensure that schools needing the most help get more money. Unfortunately, President Obama’s corporate reform measures do just the opposite."

Selling out public schools - Salon.com: "That vision, however, is now under assault by both political parties in America. On the Republican side, the Washington Post reports Mitt Romney just unveiled “a pro-choice, pro-voucher, pro-states-rights education program that seems certain to hasten the privatization of the public education system” completely. On the other side, Wall Street titans in the Democratic Party with zero experience in education policy are marshaling tens of millions of dollars to do much of what Romney aims to do as president – and they often have a willing partner in President Barack “Race to the Top” Obama and various Democratic governors."

"Funded by corporate interests who naturally despise organized labor, both sides have demonized teachers’ unions as the primary problem in education — somehow ignoring the fact that most of the best-performing public school systems in America and in the rest of the world are, in fact, unionized. (Are we never supposed to ask how, if unions are the primary problem, so many unionized schools in America and abroad do so well?) Not surprisingly, these politicians and activists insist they are driven solely by their regard for the nation’s children — and they expect us to ignore the massive amount of money their benefactors (and even the activists personally) stand to make by transforming public education into yet another private profit center. Worse, they ask us also to forget that in the last few years of aggressive “reform” (read: evisceration) of public education, the education gap has actually gotten far worse, with the most highly touted policies put in place now turning the schoolhouse into yet another catalyst of crushing inequality."

Here is the link to the Democratic Party Platform  An Economy that Out-Educates the World and Offers Greater Access to Higher Education and Technical Training. Democrats believe that getting an education is the surest path to the middle class, giving all students the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and contribute to our economy and democracy. Public education is one of our critical democratic institutions. We are committed to ensuring that every child in America has access to a world class public education so we can out-educate the world and make sure America has the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. This requires excellence at every level of our education system, from early learning through post-secondary education. It means we must close the achievement gap in America’s schools and ensure that in every neighborhood in the country, children can benefit from high-quality educational opportunities.

Education | The White House: "To prepare Americans for the jobs of the future and help restore middle-class security, we have to out-educate the world and that starts with a strong school system."

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