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The current issue of Rolling Stone offers an interesting piece, Barack Obama So Far, in which David Gergen, Paul Krugman, and Michael Moore have a disccusion on how the Obama administration is doing.  The link above does not, unfortunately, take you to the full article, but does take you to report cards on 4 topics.  Here are the topics, and the grade given on each for the Obama administration's performance:

Economic Recovery  B-

Health Care  B

Environment A-

Education B

(more below the fold)

I suppose I will want to read the commentary by the three, but I have some immediate reactions of my own.  Let me focus on education, in which we read

Biggest Victory Devoted $115 billion of stimulus to modernize schools, preserve jobs for teachers and kick off the largest federal investment in higher ed since the GI Bill.

Biggest Blunder Didn't provide enough stimulus money to offset state cuts to education. "It made no sense to start new road programs when you're laying off teachers," says Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz

The assessment rightly criticizes the continued overreliance on tests, but I think gives too high a credit for being on "the right path", as one reads in when it quotes Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform saying "There seems to be the right orientation for reform, but not yet the resolve to push Congress to make it happen".  Here I note that Allen has been a long-time advocate of charter schools, but not just that, as can be shown by the membership of her board, which includes Chris Whittle, the founder of Edison Schools, one of the major attempts to privatize public education.

My own grade on education would only be a C or at best a C+.  I give credit for providing stimulus money to help states and localities avoid having to do massive layoffs of teachers.   But I see Sec. Duncan pursuing an agenda too heavily tilted towards one side of the educational debates, and an unwillingness to recognize the now document limitations of the approaches he advocates, and is - with the full backing of the President - willing to force down the throats of states using his control over billions of money through the stimulus to affect massive change without it ever being fully debated and vetted in the Congress.  For example, his insistence on forcing states to expand charters seems to be undercut by the recent CREDO study out of Stanford U on Charter schools (press release here which

found that 17 percent of charter schools reported academic gains that were  significantly better than traditional public schools, while 37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse than their traditional public school counterparts, with 46 percent of charter schools demonstrating no significant difference.

 It is not clear why one would move to expansion of an approach that does not seem to be improving outcomes.  Data from a study of Chicago schools during Duncan's term there finds a similar lack of improvement in the "innovations" he imposed  -  you can read the USA Today story on the report or if you wish, read the report which was put out by The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

Let me summarize my grades on the four items.

Economic Recovery - I agree with the B-minus.  I also agreed with Paul Krugman (on economics, that is easy) that the original stimulus was too small

Health Care -  INC -  I cannot give a grade until I see whether a decent bill can be passed.  I understand the political difficulties involved in this process, and the desire of the administration to avoid the mistakes - such as excluding Congress - made in 1993 by the Clinton administration.  It is not yet clear to me that the end result will not be a wasted opportunity.  If I had to give an interim grade, it would be no more than B-

Environment -  I probably would only go to B+, because I think the administration has moved a bit slowly on things like restricting Mountain Top Removal.  Still, I am known by my students as a tough grader, so a B+ from me at this point is actually a decent grade.

That's my take.  Details only on education, because that is the field of the four I know the best.

What say you?

Originally posted to teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:31 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In lieu of the automatic tip jar (22+ / 0-)

    I decided to draw attention to this because I thought what I could see online was far more meaningful than the "poll" done by CNN yesterday.  I also believe a discussion by participants here is far more meaningful than the commentary and selection offered by CNN.

    Besides, I like to start conversations.   How about you?

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:29:57 AM PDT

    •  "thumbs up or down" (0+ / 0-)

      yeah, that much-hyped poll was geared toward teh dumb. How can any thoughtful person reduce what has transpired since 1/20/09 to a hand gesture? As a teacher, that must be insulting to you. Thanks for a more complete adult version.

      The Republican Party will never die until there is a new political home for racists.

      by kamarvt on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:40:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They need to Focus and Coordinate issues and (0+ / 0-)

      repeat ad naseum. What the thugs do best, course they have the best coordinators on the planet earth
      Hannittee..Becks..Limbaaaa..and Mickey Savaged
      Miserable priks !

      "All Animals are equal but some Animals are more equal than others"

      by ShrunkenHead on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:52:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't agree on economics (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, askew

      I would give at least a B+, or more likely an A-.  When I looked at the stimulus package, I found about 90 Billion in green spending, a significant amount.  The other part of the stimulus package that gets missed is the subsidy for Cobra coverage, which has helped people keep their health insurance.

      The stimulus package may have been too small, but Obama has taken risky positions (eg the Car industry) that has clearly averted another Great Depression, and I think he deserves significant credit for that.  

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:55:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  BTW (0+ / 0-)

        I defer to your judgement on education, though the stimulus package did double federal spending in a number of areas.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:57:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  here is the good part (0+ / 0-)

          through the stimulus they actually addressed one of the long term gaps, which has been the ongoing failure of the Fed govt to meet its 40% share of the average additional cost of special ed.   It looks like with the stimulus we have jumped from around 16% to around 37-39%. That allows states and districts to shift resources to meet other needs.

          And there is no doubt that absent stimulus money to schools, large numbers of teachers would not have jobs for the Fall, with serious implication for the education of children.

          Yet I cannot ignore the wrongheadedness of some of what is being pushed out, using the very large stick of discretionary funds now available to Duncan.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:01:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  let me explain why I disagree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fladem, RFK Lives

        I am certainly glad at some of what is in there.  And I am a fairly tough marker, as my students know.

        But I think we missed a real opportunity in several ways, including the stimulus not being big enough, and in starting meaningful reform in the financial sector.  To say that it could not be done ignores how much is being done using stimulus money to change education.

        I think the administration was a bit tentative to begin with, a point that Paul Krugman made rather forcefully.  I actually think psychologically we could have rammed home the importance of change by having the stimulus OVER a trillion.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:59:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They have a reasonably (0+ / 0-)

          agressive financial reform agenda, which I don't thing gets much press.

          If this morning's unemployment number is right, Obama may have gotten the size of the stimulus package right.  Even Roubiani now says any stimulus package would need to be about 200 Billion.  

          Bigger picture, Obama is running a deficit to gdp of 12.9%.  FDR in the depth of the depression did not run half of that until WW2.  In fact, in 1942 the deficit to GDP was 12%, which is still smaller than the current deficit.  I think people have mistaken fiscal stimulus (which includes all government spending) for the stimulus package.  When viewed in this larger perspective, Obama's policy has been VERY progressive.  

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:05:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'd put an "INC" across the board ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... not because I think President Obama has done poorly, or well, but because for me it's just too soon to tell.  The kinds of policies he's been most focused on are exactly the sort that take months or years to play out.  Color me hopeful, but not yet ready to get out the pom-poms.

      Good morning, Ken. :)

  •  Disagree with Economic Recovery.. (7+ / 0-)

    Unemployment appears to be improving, and the Higher stimulus price would have been harder to pass with the high deficits forecasted..  so a B- is a little to harsh..

    •  still of opinion stimulus too small (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miss SPED

      also have personal concern about how Wall Street and banking sector were handled.  Lack of oversight and control, continued paying of big bonuses, etc.  

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:42:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed there (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, BobTrips, LI Mike

      I think a lot of people don't realize only a fraction of the stimulus money has actually been deployed and made its way into the economy.

      An anecdote ---

      My aunt manages a retirement community in rural Indiana - it's essentially a little housing development, but specifically for retirees.  It's mixed income - so since many residents are also in various government assistance programs, it falls under the purview of HUD.

      There's a provision in the stimulus package that provides for "green retrofits" -- HUD assisted developments can apply for grants to install new, more energy efficient heating and cooling systems.  There are also bonus provisions for various aspects of the upgrades (for example, if you hire contractors that meet local "living wage" requirements -- generally, this means union contractors).

      The program only rolled out about 6 weeks ago.   In the scope of the entire stimulus program, it's rather small provision (somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 mil, I think)... but -- in a 100 unit development, this is going to mean work for for a heating/cooling shop... jobs for pipefitters, electricians, etc.

      It's also going to mean a factory producing furnaces and air conditions is going to see an uptick in orders.

      The stimulus pack IS working - people just need to calibrate their expectations on how quickly its going to work its way through the macro numbers.

      I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

      by zonk on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:53:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed that it is working (0+ / 0-)

        agreed that a lot of money not yet pushed out.  But that by itself is a reason in my mind to lower the grade a bit -  precisely because it is taking too long to get some of those funds out there.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:02:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          askew

          I'm just not sure how one can push it out faster without seeing a lot of waste and fraud.

          Even after the bill passes, it takes months for the various government agencies administering all the programs to develop plans to do so.  

          The law itself just lays the foundation -- HUD, HHS, Transportation, etc -- need to build the house... and even then - there's a learning curve for the recipients to learn how (and for what) to apply.

          If they had simply started cutting checks months ago -- there would inevitably be funds wasted, not to mention, a higher likelihood of fraud.

          I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

          by zonk on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:13:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  More of this... (0+ / 0-)

        Seems like we need lots of reports "from the ground" that bring news of how the stimulus money is starting to create jobs.

        Many of us see the beginnings.  It will be a while before stimulus effects are obvious in the major measurement systems.

        15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

        by BobTrips on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:40:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  After this (4+ / 0-)

    Jobs report A-. I will upgrade to A+ when HC, cap and trade & consumer protection agency passes.

    The Baucus caucus is quite raucus and in the end will fauckus

    by FistJab on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:37:42 AM PDT

  •  The major problem in education, as I see it... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, miss SPED, grannycarol

    Is class size.  We need more schools, more teachers, and more assistants - not bigger schools or new windows.

    I just don't understand this method of improving education.

    Good points on that, teacherken.

    When I rise, may I rise up joyful, like a bird. When I fall, may I fall without regretting, like a leaf. -- Wendell Berry

    by Batensmack on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:39:37 AM PDT

  •  Charter schools scare me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    We have them in my area, and I've seen way too many kids graduate from them that can't even read.

    Like seriously, honest to God, not exaggerating, cannot sit down and read even a Dr. Seuss book illiterates and graduated High School.

    The Charter Schools have basically just became the dumping grounds for all the kids with learning disabilities, and attitude problems from public schools that are too lazy, too busy, or too something to deal with them.  

    I don't know, charter schools (or at least the ones in my area, hopefully they aren't like this everywhere, considering their growing popularity) just piss me off.

    "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

    by MichiganGirl on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:47:39 AM PDT

  •  But... (0+ / 0-)

    CNN says the President's grades are PLUMMETING!!! Who am I to believe, experts or trolls.

  •  Stopping the wars D-, GLBT rights F (3+ / 0-)

    Hey Newt! If I gave you a hug, you'd be surrounded by paganism! - Eddie Garcia (kestrel9000)(-6.88/-5.74)

    by kestrel9000 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:51:41 AM PDT

    •  now, if we broadened the topics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kestrel9000

      I am sure there are lots of areas on which we could give low grades.

      Methinks the reason the four were picked is that they are those which have, for better or worse, had the highest visibility in the administration.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:55:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's too early to grade (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED, Front Toward Enemy

    I think it is too early to grade the administation.  Any grade now would be bad.  Increased war and no plan to get us out of debt -- that's what you would need to grade right now and it's too early to know whether that is the legacy.

  •  I'm not interested in "grading" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy

    at this point. There's too much work to do yet to dabble in this. The health care barbarians are at the gate.

    "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

    by Ivan on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:52:46 AM PDT

  •  B+ (0+ / 0-)

    He's doing an admirable job making something out of the enormous mess that was handed to him.  There's a few things I think he could do better with, but I believe he's working on long-term plans that will help us down the road.  They're not all things that will give us immediate benefit, but give them time and they'll get good results.

    I'll admit that I'm not comfortable with the deficit-building, but I'm holding off on damning him for that just yet.  He was given an crisis situation, and you sometimes have to spend money to make money, so I'll give it some time and see how it pays off, even though it does give me some concern.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:53:24 AM PDT

  •  C nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xysea

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:56:02 AM PDT

  •  Surprised foreign policy wasnt a category (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xysea

    I pretty much agree with their grades. Although after today's jobs report, I would probably put economic recovery at B not B-.

    •  probably because focus is on those items (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jj32, xysea

      which have gotten the lion's share of the administration's attention.  Also, because it is somewhat easier to examine in the short term some of the effects, such as in the recovery, than it would be in military and foreign policy matters.

      I agree that I was surprised a bit by the narrowness of the categories selected.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:04:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Overall I'd give him an A- (0+ / 0-)

    There are small signs that things are improving, and while it's slow, you have to consider what he was given to work with when he took office.

  •  Small towns, cities and villages throughout our (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xysea, miss SPED

    country are cutting services and laying off employees..We missed this opportunity badly I believe ! Helping out the towns, cities and villages with fed assistance would of paid dividends beyond belief and been The Right Thing To do..! People want to See the Muney and the good the government can do. We helped the Banks and the Big Three and shunned the heart beat and heart land of America

    What a missed opportunity !

    "All Animals are equal but some Animals are more equal than others"

    by ShrunkenHead on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:57:53 AM PDT

  •  Health care only a C ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, LI Mike, xysea, miss SPED

    ... Seems to me we would have gotten a stronger bill if the administration had been stronger from the start. (I don't see any good bill being discussed and the best is sure to be watered down.) The President has not been able to mobilize support because potential supporters don't have anything substantive to back. Pro-reformers are fragmented, the anti's are just saying no. A stronger position at the start would also have helped in negotiations.

    According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Obama's job approval has slipped to 50% vs 42% who disapprove, with approval of his handling of health care at only 39% vs 52% who disapprove.

    I figure a lot of that disapproval is from pro-reformers who are looking for more. So I put up a poll yesterday to see what Kossacks think. Got 92 votes. Only 27% said they approve of the President's handling of health care.

  •  I just don't like Obama's (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, exlrrp, Dave in RI, FutureNow, xysea

    economic team especially Geithner and Summner. In my view they're interested in resurrecting an unsustainable status quo (banking). I would have liked to see more done with the stimulus but he did a good job getting it passed within the first mo of office.

    Education -- could be a C for me. Agree with comments about Duncan's preference for Charter schools. (Although a month ago or so I saw an article in the NYT where he was lamenting the Charter School study and recognized that the Charter Schools have to do better.)

    FISA, 4th amendment rights == F
    GLBT issues == F
    Immigration == Incomplete but if forced a B-

    All in all, though, too early to grade.

  •  My grade (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, mattman, xysea, thelatinist

    Economic Recovery - B

    My main issue here - while as I say above, I think the stimulus package is working and will only continue to snowball in its impact - is that we simply haven't seen the sandcastles Wall Street built (and which, per his speeches, Obama surely recognizes) be regulated away.  There hasn't been nearly enough reigning of Investment banks and a forceful push to move them back into their core purpose --- providing capital for real economic development.   Wall Street is still allowed to push and trade far too much meaningless paper, rather than being moved back to the fundamentals.

    Health Care - B-
    This is a tough one... I think any plan is better than no plan, but I'm especially unhappy that the WH has pushed for precious little increase in government bargaining power.   I also think they failed to seize the initiative in the debate -- Medicare should have been touted and touted loudly as being more cost efficient (it is) and boasting much better beneficiary satisfaction (it does).


    Foreign Policy - A

    Near flawless.  He's handled Iran, North Korea, and most problems with exactly the professionalism and respect that's been sorely lacking.  There is a quietly simmering divide between Netanyahu and Obama on settlements - which is making any sort of Israeli-Palestinian peace plan hard to fathom at this point, but Beni needs to realize that Bush ain't coming back.  Quite obviously, the international outreach Obama has undertaken has, I think, been wildly successful.   We're no longer hated and isolated, and we're really starting to work constructively with allies and the world at large.

    I'm not well versed enough in the environmental and educational changes coming from the administration, so I'll skip those grades.

    The only area where I'd give the administration a "C" or lower would probably be in transparency and reversing the Bush administration's assault on privacy and civil liberties.   There has been improvement from the Bush administration, yes -- but 'better' (or really, 'marginally better') just digs you out of abject failure.   It's going to take a hell of a lot more to get good marks.

    I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

    by zonk on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:06:53 AM PDT

  •  Foreign relations A+++, Healthcare D. It's just (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xysea

    ridiculous that he hasn't educated people to the fact that "medicare" and VA hospitals are government-run, f'ing "socialized medicine".

  •  I give the Obama Admin a B- at the mo - (0+ / 0-)

    I would like the President to be tougher and more vocal on healthcare reform, and that entails walking back many of the ridiculous statements made by members of his own team (*cough* Rahm cough).

    There are a couple of other areas that I would like to see improvement in, as well, but I am also willing to have patience in dealing with them.

    But the economy, jobs, healthcare are paramount.  The first is essential, up to and including banking reform and insurance regulation.  I'd like to see pay rules addressed and Goldman Sachs run through a prosecutorial investigation.

    I'm sick of GOP SOP!

    by xysea on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:13:06 AM PDT

  •  political reality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew

    Economic Recovery - I agree with the B-minus.  I also agreed with Paul Krugman (on economics, that is easy) that the original stimulus was too small

    Sure. But political reality is that he could not have gotten it any bigger, even if he wanted to. Neither could Paul Krugman. It was tough as it was to barely get three Republicans to pass it.

    Personally I think Obama did a hell of a job to get a $800 billion stimulus bill passed after just a month in the office.

  •  an A for effort. (0+ / 0-)

    i mean, they are trying... and this economy SUCKS. my one major beef is that Don't Ask Don't Tell is still the law of the land, but i'm giving him a pass on this for now.

    Keep Religion in Church

    by titotitotito on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:25:36 AM PDT

  •  It's an A, and its obvious. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew

    I have not seen a single intitiative where the President has been defeated. And every initiative that has been implemented is having the effect desired.

    Foreign Policy: A+

    He's restored our position as the leading voice in the world and vastly improved our image abroad. He is successfully and prudently drawing down our fight in Iraq and aggressively hitting the Taliban and Al Qaeda as promised. Most significantly, he has finally got the Pakistani military to take strong action.

    Domestic Policy: A

    Every single bill that he has wanted passed has been passed. Healthcare, obviously more ambitious and complex, is moving through the congressional process with more speed than I expected. I didn't even expect him to take it up this year. On education, Secretary Duncan is doing well.

    I think he's doing just fine.

    "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

    by brooklynbadboy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:36:44 AM PDT

  •  Gets an A- For Education So Far (0+ / 0-)

    The stimulus bill was tremendous for education. Schools are still in trouble due to plummeting real estate values, but he staved off disaster and put money where it needed to go.

    I am sure my grade will drop with time because I do not believe that the Administration supports teachers like myself--I think the move towards Charter Schools is an effort to lay off highly paid teachers and require them to seek lower paying jobs.

    At this point, just looking at Education, the Administration's actions have been much better than its words. One semester down, and hopefully fifteen more to go.

    "I call on all governments to join with the United States ...in...prosecuting all acts of torture." GW Bush

    by Reino on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:01:57 AM PDT

    •  Do We Grade On A Curve? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken

      If we grade on a curve, he gets an A+ for now and forever, since his only "peer" in the classroom of 21st Century Presidents is far and away his inferior.

      "I call on all governments to join with the United States ...in...prosecuting all acts of torture." GW Bush

      by Reino on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:05:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Financial Industry regulation: D (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, thelatinist

    The foxes were sent to guard the henhouse. As far as I ca tell there was no substantive change at all.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:15:42 AM PDT

  •  There really needs to be a foreign policy grade. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew

    In fact, I will give grades in foreign policy, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    Economic Recovery  B

    The stimulus was too small, and has taken too long to deploy.  Still, things seem to be improving...

    Health Care  C-

    Obama needs to be out there in front of this.  He's allowing the insurance companies and republicans to outflank him and establish the dialog.  Not good.

    Environment B+

    Obama has done a good job, but he needs more agressively to roll back some of the policies pushed through by Bush.

    Education B

    I'm not sure why education gets a separate grade.  It really hasn't been a huge focus of the administration. Stimulus money for schools is good, but we need to get away from testing...

    Foreign Relations A-
    Just look at the improvement we've seen in world opinion of the U.S.  My one very small cavil is that he was not more outspoken against Israeli settlements.

    Iraq A-

    This is what we've been waiting for.  Pulling out of cities has already led to reduced violence.  Now we need to start bringing our people home.

    Afghanistan B+

    I am not a huge fan of the increased troop levels in Afghanistan, and I think we need to look harder at our use of aerial drones and the collateral damage from our bomb attacks in Pakistan.  But at least he's paying attention to Afghanistan, which is more than could be said for the Bush administration.

  •  There is a very good reason why (0+ / 0-)

    "37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse than their traditional public school counterparts."

    Can you guess what it is? Well, many charter schools, especially in this economy, focus on teaching inner city, special needs, and non-English speaking kids. My mother teachers inner city kids for a charter school and yes, it is a big deal when one of her students moves up one reading level, even if they are still two reading levels below where they should be. My mother spent two years on one student with severe dyslexia, whose test scores suffered because of this, but when he finally conquered his dyslexia he became her highest achieving student.

    I honestly don't know, but those figures you sight seem to make sense to me, About 37% of charter schools teach students like the ones I mentioned above. About 17% of charter school students are academically gifted, and about 46% are just regular kids. That sounds about right to me. Charter schools have the same standards, the same tests, and most even have sites where students can take classes.

    Then there is the fact that the rules, regulations and funding for charter schools is constantly in flux. Perhaps if we recognized that our regular public school system is in shambles, and came together to develop some basic guidelines for charter schools, and actually stuck to these guidelines and provided stable funding, we could get a clearer idea of where and how charter schools fit in our educational system.

    At least we never have to worry about an Obama sex scandal. If he cheats on Michelle we'll know about it quick - because she'll put him in the hospital!

    by Julia Rain on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:53:00 PM PDT

    •  plus, the Stanford study also says: (0+ / 0-)

      The report found that the academic success of students in charter schools was affected by the
      individual state policy environment. States with caps limiting the number of charter schools
      reported significantly lower academic results than states without caps limiting charter growth.
      States that have the presence of multiple charter school authorizers also reported lower academic
      results than states with fewer authorizers in place. Finally, states with charter legislation allowing
      for appeals of previously denied charter school applications saw a small but significant increase
      in student performance.

      The results are all over the place, because the basic guidelines and funding for charter schools is all over the place.

      More interesting information from the report:

      The report found several key positive findings regarding the academic performance of students
      attending charter schools. For students that are low income, charter schools had a larger and
      more positive effect than for similar students in traditional public schools. English Language
      Learner students also reported significantly better gains in charter schools, while special
      education students showed similar results to their traditional public school peers.

      The report also found that students do better in charter schools over time. While first year charter
      school students on average experienced a decline in learning, students in their second and third
      years in charter schools saw a significant reversal, experiencing positive achievement gains.

      At least we never have to worry about an Obama sex scandal. If he cheats on Michelle we'll know about it quick - because she'll put him in the hospital!

      by Julia Rain on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:01:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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