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There’s nothing more important to our country’s future than the education we give our kids. And there’s no one more important to that education than the person at the front of the classroom.

Teachers matter.  Most work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies – just to make a difference.  They give everything for our kids – and in return, we should invest in them.

It was all love for teachers in this morning's weekly address, in which President Barack Obama discussed his travels across the country, the importance of education and the vital role that teachers play in shaping the future of our country.

He pointed to the toll that the sagging economy and state and local budget cuts have taken on the rank and file of educators across the country. Since 2009, he said, more than 300,000 education jobs have been lost. And that, he told listeners, has serious consequences:

Think about what that means for our country.  At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America; these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year.

That’s the opposite of what we should be doing as a country.  States should be making education a priority in their budgets, even in tough fiscal times.  And Congress should be willing to help out – because this affects all of us.

The president cited his jobs bill, which the Republican-led Congress killed this past September, as his attempt at a solution.  But it's more than just not passing his proposed bill that hurt education, it's the whole Republican economic worldview, manifest in their love of slashing budgets:
In fact, the economic plan that almost every Republican in Congress voted for would make the situation even worse.  It would actually cut funding for education – which means fewer kids in Head Start, fewer teachers in our classrooms, and fewer college students with access to financial aid – all to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires.

That’s backwards.  That’s wrong.  That plan doesn’t invest in our future; it undercuts our future.

He pointed to his administrations student loan reform and advocacy for more student financial aid as a step in the right direction, "because," he said,  in America, higher education cannot be a luxury; it’s an economic necessity every family should be able to afford." He closed with a flourish, tying his own personal story to that of America, its children and the future:
This is a country where no matter what you look like or where you come from, if you’re willing to study and work hard, you can go as far as your talents will take you.  You can make it if you try.  I am only the President of the United States today because of the chance my education gave me.  I want every child in America to have that chance.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
The Weekly Address
The White House
August 18, 2012

Hi, everybody.  This week, I spent some time traveling across Iowa talking with folks about rebuilding an economy where if you work hard, you and your family can get ahead.

And along the way, I stopped in at Cascade High School to thank the teachers there for doing such a great job – and wish them luck as they head back to the classroom for this school year.

There’s nothing more important to our country’s future than the education we give our kids. And there’s no one more important to that education than the person at the front of the classroom.

Teachers matter.  Most work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies – just to make a difference.  They give everything for our kids – and in return, we should invest in them.

But here’s the thing: this year, several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school.  Since 2009, we’ve lost more than 300,000 education jobs, in part, because of budget cuts at the state and local level.

Think about what that means for our country.  At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America; these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year.

That’s the opposite of what we should be doing as a country.  States should be making education a priority in their budgets, even in tough fiscal times.  And Congress should be willing to help out – because this affects all of us.

That’s why part of the jobs bill that I sent to Congress last September included support for states to prevent further layoffs and to rehire teachers who’d lost their jobs.  But here we are – a year later with tens of thousands more educators laid off – and Congress still hasn’t done anything about it.

In fact, the economic plan that almost every Republican in Congress voted for would make the situation even worse.  It would actually cut funding for education – which means fewer kids in Head Start, fewer teachers in our classrooms, and fewer college students with access to financial aid – all to pay for a massive new tax cut for millionaires and billionaires.

That’s backwards.  That’s wrong.  That plan doesn’t invest in our future; it undercuts our future.

If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible – from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.

That’s why we launched a national competition to improve our schools.  And for less than one percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve encouraged almost every state to raise their standards – the first time that’s happened in a generation.

That’s why we’ve invested in math and science education, and given states more flexibility on No Child Left Behind.

And that’s why we’ve reformed the student loan program to put students before big banks, and increased financial aid for millions of young people – because in America, higher education cannot be a luxury; it’s an economic necessity every family should be able to afford.

This is a country where no matter what you look like or where you come from, if you’re willing to study and work hard, you can go as far as your talents will take you.  You can make it if you try.  I am only the President of the United States today because of the chance my education gave me.  I want every child in America to have that chance.  That’s what I’m fighting for.  And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, that’s what I’m going to keep fighting for.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He got it wrong, we don't work tirelessly, we get (7+ / 0-)

    tired!  Other than that, spot on.

    Sent via African Swallow carrying a coconut

    by ipaman on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:06:43 AM PDT

  •  Great speech! (6+ / 0-)

    I like the actions it outlines even better. The GOP model of wealth consolidation at the top requires an ignorant, uneducated public. The Dems want an educated America and more wealth spread around. End of story.

  •  If he really does value teachers (24+ / 0-)

    He could replace his current secretary of education with a real educator.  Teachers have been completely left out of the conversation about how to improve our schools.  Common sense should tell us that teachers probably know better than anyone what they need to do their jobs better.

    “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

    by musiclady on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:09:54 AM PDT

    •  hear hear! get a real teacher in the Dept of Ed (7+ / 0-)

      80 % of success is showing up

      Corporate is not the solution to our problem

      Corporate is the problem

      by Churchill on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:36:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I will probably donate some shoe leather (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laborguy, bookgirl

      based on my belief that Obama realizes what a fool he put in charge of the Department of Education and will replace him in a second term ;-)

      Seriously, for so long, school reform was a liberal issue. Its intent was to get away from the regimentation, conformity, and rote learning that went on in so many public schools.

      Teaching as a Subversive Activity was my mother's Bible.  It was published in 1971. She got fired from a couple of jobs for trying to put her "radical" ideas into practice.

      Education reformers, from Comenius to Dewey, have always been liberals.

      Somewhere along the line during the Bush administration, the school reform movement got hijacked by the Right, however, and no one seemed to realize it at the time.

      Plenty of people railed against NCLB but, it seems to me, the reasons that it is so bad were not well articulated.  (It only hit me within the last year that NCLB with the devasting effect it has had on the teaching of anything other than readin', writin' and 'rithmetic, is nothing less than the wingnut wet dream "Back to Basics").

      At the beginning of Obama's first term, I think a lot of liberals were still confused.  I saw that reflected in diaries attacking teachers and teachers' unions, and indicating support for people like Michelle Rhee.

      I don't see that anymore.  I think people are beginning to realize that what "school reform" means today is the same old regimentation, conformity, and rote learning, only privatized.

      That public education, with all its flaws, is so much better than what the "reformers" would put in its place.  And that we can still push for true reform in public education -- but only if we preserve it.

      That's why I have hopes that Obama's education policy will be wiser in his second term than it was in his first.

      Light is seen through a small hole.

      by houyhnhnm on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:57:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So much to love: (5+ / 0-)
        based on my belief that Obama realizes what a fool he put in charge of the Department of Education and will replace him in a second term ;-)
        Of course he will.  It's not like anyone could have foreseen the policies that Arne Duncan would push.  Not like our good friend Arne has a track record or anything like that which could have been examined. /snark
        At the beginning of Obama's first term, I think a lot of liberals were still confused.  I saw that reflected in diaries attacking teachers and teachers' unions, and indicating support for people like Michelle Rhee.
        No, "Liberals" weren't confused;  Not at all.  I'm a liberal, and when Obama appointed Arne Duncan, I knew exactly what was in store based on a quick five minute Internet search of Arne Duncan, which turned up a consistent history of Charter Schools and attacking Teacher's via "testing".
        Somewhere along the line during the Bush administration, the school reform movement got hijacked by the Right, however, and no one seemed to realize it at the time.
        The school reform movement wasn't hijacked.  Pro-corporate anti-teacher forces used rhetoric in order to take control and implement the policies they wanted.

        A subsequent Democratic administration renamed "No Child Left Behind" to "Race To The Top" and continued implementing the same overall policies pursued under NCLB.

        In point of fact, the Heritage Foundation practically drools when referencing Obama's Department of Education "analysis" of Charter Schools as a positive thing.

        That's why I have hopes that Obama's education policy will be wiser in his second term than it was in his first.
        Really?

        May 7, 2012:

        Obama Calls Charter Schools Incubators of Innovation:

        LANSING, MI – President Barack Obama says the nation’s charter schools “serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country,” and issued a proclamation calling this “National Charter Schools Week.”
        That was in May 2012.  Three months ago.  

        Time is running out for Obama to "get wise", me thinks.

        You know what I think?  I think if Obama gets a second term that the Charter / anti-teacher / pro-corporate agenda will move along just fine.

        I voted for Change. Not Three Chiefs of Staff from Wall Street Banks. Not Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder, Simpson, or a Monsanto Lobbyist. Not more Free Trade. Not more Patriot Act. Not defending Wall Street's Savvy Businessmen.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:13:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry if I missed your diaries (0+ / 0-)

          and comments supporting teachers and teachers' unions three to four years ago, but your user name isn't familiar to me.

          Light is seen through a small hole.

          by houyhnhnm on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:37:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's perfectly understandable: (0+ / 0-)

            I was too busy cheering the wave of Change We Can Believe In.

            I voted for Change. Not Three Chiefs of Staff from Wall Street Banks. Not Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder, Simpson, or a Monsanto Lobbyist. Not more Free Trade. Not more Patriot Act. Not defending Wall Street's Savvy Businessmen.

            by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:38:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Amen (0+ / 0-)

      Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

      by gelfling545 on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 12:11:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  O/T (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo Flinnwood, drmah

    Ryan about to speak in Fla at retirement community. Medicare and other stuff. A Jingoistic warm up singer is currently making a racket with lots of stars, stripes, eagles, murrikas etc.

    Cspan 2

  •  It's also a cultural problem, not just a financial (0+ / 0-)

    one.

    If no one cares, all the money in the world won't solve the problem.

    •  Oh, I think throwing money (11+ / 0-)

      at our educational system would work wonders for the crumbling educational infrastructure.

      In fact, all the money in the world would go a long way towards solving a lot of problems.

      There is an army of underpaid, disrespected teachers in the trenches working to educate our children, and...let me assure you glib assertions that money wouldn't solve our educational problems ignores the fact that our educational system has been starved for money every since the American people decided they didn't want to pay for services, roads, and the other niceties of Western Civilization.

      •  Throwing money (0+ / 0-)

        We've been starving public education in this country?

        "Total expenditures per student in fall enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools rose from $8,634 in 1988–89 to $12,643 in 2008–09, a 46 percent increase as measured in constant 2010–11 dollars "
        http://nces.ed.gov/...

        Not a chance.

        •  You're joking (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          houyhnhnm, bookgirl

          What your numbers reveal is an appalling stagnation over twenty years of per pupil spending.  

          You try to put a child into a decent private school for that amount, and you would be laugh out of the headmaster's office.   And private school teachers don't have to be credentialed...or have to attend college for as many years as a public school teacher.  

          Yes, the schools are starved.  And it is being done on  purpose to drive middle class people out the schools, and use schools as holding centers for the poor.  

          And anyone who sends their children to public schools knows this is the case.

          Not a chance indeed.  

          •  Puzzling (0+ / 0-)

            how steady increase in public spending expenditures translates into either stagnation or starvation. BTW, those things you call "your numbers" come from your government.

            Instead of acknowledging that rise, you go off on tangents about private schools and credentials and some plot against the poor and middle class. Get a grip.

            However, as you think it will help drive down costs, I would happily see the entire contemporary credentialing regime tossed out—certainly it has done little to produce better students.

            •  Get your own grip (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              houyhnhnm

              look into where the money actually goes...

              and why your numbers don't mean what you think it means.

              •  Different matters (0+ / 0-)

                1) So, we are in agreement, I take it, that expenditures on public education have risen substantially.
                2) And so your complaint boils down to the claim that the money is not being spent well. I agree, although I suspect we might yet disagree on how it might be better used.
                3) As for the research you suggest I do into how the money is being spent, since you've obviously done this already, I think you ought to post your results. TIA.

          •  And futhermore.... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            houyhnhnm, bookgirl, drmah

            http://www.ourfuture.org/...

            "The first factor: New austerity budgets passed by state legislatures are starting to have a huge influence on direct services to children, youth, and families.
            There is widespread evidence that the education funding cuts are leading to:
            •     Massive cuts to early childhood education programs (pre-K and
            kindergarten);
            •     Huge class sizes in many subjects, reaching levels that are upsetting
            parents and potentially damaging students’ education;
            •     An end to art, music, physical education, and other subjects considered
            to be part of a well-rounded education;
            •     Cuts in specialized programs and/or hefty fees for them. Some of these
            programs serve students with developmental issues or those who need more
            individualized attention. They also include extra-curricular activities
            such as band and sports as well as academic offerings in science, foreign
            language, technology, and Advanced Placement subjects.
            The second factor: As public schools are grappling with these severe budget
            cuts to programs, they also are facing enormous pressure to transfer tax dollars
            to targets outside traditional public education. New policy mandates at the federal
            and state levels are forcing public school systems to redirect tax dollars meant for
            public schools to various privately held concerns such as charter schools, private
            and religious schools, and contractors and companies tasked with setting up new
            systems for testing and accountability"

            I would invite you download and read the entire report, but I have few illusions about people who think that those per pupil cost actually go into the education of each pupil would be interested in what is actually happening in this country with regard to public education.

            •  If you have any doubt, look up story from Friday's (0+ / 0-)

              Indianapolis Star about the imprompto Bus Driver's Strike which left the state's largest school district with half of its children stranded at school.  The genesis of the problem lays with the Republican State Legislature's draconian cuts to school transportation budgets.  

        •  Please remember that "student funding" goes (0+ / 0-)

          to all aspects of running the school including maintenance, food services, support staff, etc....even the water and electricity bills, so as our schools age and students require ever more complicated services for their particular needs, that money isn't enough.

  •  Strengthening the middle class (3+ / 0-)

    means strengthening education.

    The Romney camp is disingenuous when it speaks of "strengthening the middle class".  Romney's stances are as Orwellian as Bush's "Healthy Forest Initiative", which was a blanket prescription of thinnings to forests.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:30:00 AM PDT

  •  You got to pay for the educators (7+ / 0-)

    To pay for those jobs, Americans need jobs and they need to be able to afford a home, that pays local school taxes.  In other words, you got to stop those free trade deals that ship our plants overseas.  It is a race to the bottom to compete with other countries that kill union workers, use slave labor, and that have no pollution regulations.

    We also can no longer afford to pay 63% of the  budget in making weapons to kill other people.

    2020 is game over for the planet according to our top scientist James Hansen and a global consensus of scientists.  All military spending will immediately be redirected into building renewable, clean energy.  All military personnel will receive new order, to work on projects, that save the planet.  All money going toward oil, gas, and coal, will to be redirected into renewable clean energy.

    Effective immediately all those making over $ 1 million will pay 38% tax rate on all income regardless of source.  No loop holes.  Thank you and may we continue to work to save the planet and all species.

    Effective immediately, by Presidential order, everyone gets medicare.  We are ending the for-profit system that is predatory in nature of the weak, ill, and most defenseless.  We recognize the universal right, that it is a human right for everyone to receive the best medical care regardless of their assets that may have been obtained unfairly anyway.

    Effectively immediately, everyone who wants to work gets a job.  As long as there is a starving child to feed, there is work to needing doing.

    •  To become a teacher, the undergraduate cost of (0+ / 0-)

      a college degree is just as expensive as preparing for any other profession.  The prospect for future teacher's salaries is so bleak, preparing to teach is too expensive to consider as a long-term career.

      •  That's right, we are a profession that requires (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drmah

        a Master's degree yet are paid far less than other jobs that don't require anything more than a high school diploma or GED. My friend's bus driver husband makes $80,000 a year and I make almost half of that yet one of us must have a degree and undertake constant professional development on our own dime. I'm just saying!

  •  Study & Work Hard: billionaire's take it all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward, snoopydawg

    It's time for the president to quit saying the American Dream is alive and well.  IT IS DEAD

    80 % of success is showing up

    Corporate is not the solution to our problem

    Corporate is the problem

    by Churchill on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:35:53 AM PDT

  •  FYI: Teachers AVG buying $1,000/YR in supplies (9+ / 0-)

    because they really care about their kids, a grand from their own pay.  Think about that.

    80 % of success is showing up

    Corporate is not the solution to our problem

    Corporate is the problem

    by Churchill on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:37:57 AM PDT

    •  Yep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snoopydawg, houyhnhnm, Churchill

      My daughter estimates she spent $10,000 in nine years of teaching. Astounding. To work as hard as she has and make a real difference in kids' lives, then be paid so poorly and given such little respect (and sometimes pure disdain) is very hard to take. With much sadness she gave it up and is starting law school this year. In one week she's already feeling how differently people treat each other in a professional program that isn't the teaching profession.

      try habitat restoration - good for you, good for all

      by jps on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:33:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If I am ever a school superintendent (0+ / 0-)

      I will make it a fireable offense to buy your own school supplies. Teachers should not be taken advantage of in this way.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:33:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Talk is cheap. (12+ / 0-)

    Let's see some action Mr. President. Get rid of Duncan. Stop with the competitive funding of education that requires states to gut tenure laws and "evaluate" teachers based on statistically non valid measures like test scores. Denounce the practice of increasing testing for kids. Better yet, get your own party to stop with the "reform" talk that doesn't do anything but make teachers more accountable for things they don't control. Finally start talking about the real issue that cause education to falter in this country: poverty.

    And if you get a chance, maybe put in a call to the Illinois Democrats who run Springfield as ask them to stop trying to violate the Illinois constitution as they attack earned pension benefits of teachers, firefighters, nurses and public workers so they can give tax breaks to corporations earning billions in profits. Remind Democrats that these people are their base as they seem to have forgotten and are going to lose a very large voting block if they stay on this path. Gov. Quinn seems to have forgotten and it will cost Democrats the Governor's office next election because he's made it his "mission in life" to gut their pensions.

    And don't get me started on your buddy Rahm, who is going to cause the first teacher strike in decades in Chicago due to Rahm's love of union busting and his support for billionaire friends on his hand picked unelected school board like Penny Pritzker of Hyatt. As you probably know her too, you might want to talk to her too about her union busting activities why you are at it.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:38:55 AM PDT

    •  Obama is great on talk but no $. Sad, but true (4+ / 0-)

      80 % of success is showing up

      Corporate is not the solution to our problem

      Corporate is the problem

      by Churchill on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:58:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How stupid do you have to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bookgirl

      not to realize that every hour that is added to testing is an hour stolen from instructional time?

      Now they want us to give a four page pretest, as well as a post test, for each unit.

      In an urban school, giving a test takes about three days, because there are so many students who only come to school every three days.  So for a two week unit (10 class periods) you are supposed to take six days for testing.  That leaves four days for instruction.

      On top of that, four pages times two tests times 150 students is 600 sheets of paper if you copy double-sided.  They've given us two reams of paper to last indefinitely and we have one working copier at any given time for a school with 1300 students.

      Last year, they closed the library for half the year to give achievement tests.  This year, they want to take all the computers out of classrooms to put in computer labs which will only be used for testing.

      Like I said, no could could possibly be that stupid.  So are they crazy or evil? That's the $64 question.

      Light is seen through a small hole.

      by houyhnhnm on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:28:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Romney's Vendetta Against Cops, Teachers, Firemen (5+ / 0-)

    This wasn't "out of context," Willard was on tear, convinced the nation is being swept by a tsunami of rage directed at teachers.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:43:33 AM PDT

  •  Diane Ravitch for Sec of Education (5+ / 0-)

    Dump Duncan.  K-12 education should not be competitive.

    Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

    by Desert Rose on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 07:48:00 AM PDT

  •  Nice speech (8+ / 0-)

    but the policies of the past three years leave a lot to be desired.  Although the Obama administrations Race to the Top is not as odious as NCLB, it still retains the hallmarks of the Bush Program with its emphasis on corporate style accountability, divisive market mechanisms such as pay incentives, closing of "underperforming" schools as based upon unreliable standardized testing, charter schools which aren't any more effective than traditional public schools, weakening teachers' unions, and allowing mayoral control.  Obama has not changed the Washingtonian consensus of utilizing neoliberal policies to fix education.

    We need to recognize the fact that not all Democrats are as friendly as they could be on this subject.  See Diane Ravitch's recent post on Democratic investments in the education "business."  http://dianeravitch.net/...

  •  Why does America hate teachers? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jps, houyhnhnm, bookgirl, drmah

    I'm just a dumb foreigner but was amazed when I first learned about Americans' disdain for teachers when I worked in the US 30 years ago. A colleague's wife said she introduced herself as a violinist (she played in a well-respected symphony orchestra) and never as a teacher. I didn't understand then and don't understand now why a parent would not want and support the best possible teachers; after all, she or he controls their kids' lives for nearly 50% of their waking life during their most important stages of development.

    Maybe that DOES explain TeaParty/GOP. "One, two, three, and another one, etc."

  •  Thank you, Mr. President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    houyhnhnm

    If the President were sucking-up to teachers to get more campaign volunteer hours out of them, he would have said this at the beginning of the summer, rather than at the end. I admire him for understanding the real value of teachers!

    That said, Race To The Top missed the mark. Competition between teachers is a bad idea. Encouraging collaboration, mentoring, and skill-sharing is a very good idea.

  •  MMmmm Tasty! Nothing fills ya up like a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RainyDay, bookgirl, Illinibeatle

    big ol' pile of steaming hot rhetoric.

    Let's step away from this bountiful buffet of Rhetoric We Can Believe In and pay a visit to Obama's Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

    Some of you may be unfamiliar with Arne Duncan, so perhaps a little introduction is in order:

    In 1992, childhood friend and investment banker John W. Rogers, Jr. appointed Duncan director of the Ariel Education Initiative, a program mentoring children at one of the city's worst-performing elementary schools and then assisting them as they proceeded further in the education system.

    After the school closed in 1996, Duncan and Rogers were instrumental in re-opening it as a charter school, Ariel Community Academy. In 1999, Duncan was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas.

    Paul Vallas.. Paul Vallas.. rings a bell...

    Oh yeah!  THAT Paul Vallas:

    Vallas was appointed CEO of School District of Philadelphia. In this capacity, he presided over the nation's largest experiment in privatized management of schools, with the management of over 40 schools turned over to outside for-profits, nonprofits, and universities beginning in Fall 2002.
    Why do I bring this link up?  Easy:  Birds Of A Feather..

    Back to our friend (and Obama's Education Secretary), Arne Duncan:

    Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Duncan to serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools on June 26, 2001. Opinions vary on Duncan's success as CEO; one prominent publication notes improved test scores and describes Duncan as a consensus builder, while another finds the improvements largely a myth and is troubled by the closing of neighborhood schools and their replacement by charter schools, and what it describes as schools' militarization
    Did someone say Charter Schools?  Why, get this man up to the national level!
    One of Duncan's well-known initiatives as [Obama's Secretary of Education] Secretary has been a $4 billion Race to the Top competition. It asks states to vie for federal education dollars by submitting proposals that include reforms such as expanding charter schools and judging teachers partly on how well their students do on standardized tests
    Of course - if Obama supports Charter School "reform", and holding "teacher's accountable" - it must surely be the right progressive thing to do, eh?

    The truly Good News is that this is a policy everyone can love - even if you're the Conservative Heritage Foundation:

    In summary, the DOE study uses the gold standard of scholarly rigor and reliability, and its findings corroborate past studies of charter schools. Parents want choice in education, and the overwhelming majority of parents who choose charter schools are happy with that choice. As the DOE’s evaluation makes clear, charter schools can offer real benefits to students and their families.
    That bipartisanship violin is getting a real workout this time, isn't it?

    And what about the NEA:

    Teachers' unions, such as the National Education Association (NEA), have criticized the Obama Administration's embrace of charter schools as part of the Race to the Top. The NEA gave the Race to the Top a vote of "no confidence," and invited critic Diane Ravitch to speak at their 2010 meeting.

    In February 2012, Duncan was criticized for appearing publicly on a panel with Michelle Rhee—former Washington D.C. Chancellor of Schools. The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Education (the Department which Duncan heads) was, at that time, investigating whether D.C. schools had cheated to raise test scores during Rhee's tenure.

    And whatever happened to No Child Left Behind?  That wonderful little Bush administration initiative that had Progressive Panties & Boxers in such knots?  Well, as it so happens, there's some GREAT material archived on the Department of Education's web site:
    President Bush and Secretary Margaret Spellings are committed to seeing charter schools opened in every state. Although more than 2,000 new schools opened between 2000 and 2006, long waiting lists and admission lotteries testify to their growing need.

    Since taking office, President Bush has invested more than $1.4 billion on the Charter Schools Program and more than $262 million on charter school facilities to reduce waiting lists.

    The President's 2008 budget provides $214.8 million to continue the Charter School Program, including $200 million to help create new charter schools and an additional $14.8 million in matching funds to States that offer per-pupil financial assistance to charter schools to obtain facilities.

    Why, imagine that!  It's practically a Symphony of Bipartisanship!

    We now return you to that Buffet of Rhetoric You Can Believe In.

    Who wants seconds?  Plenty for everyone!

    I voted for Change. Not Three Chiefs of Staff from Wall Street Banks. Not Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder, Simpson, or a Monsanto Lobbyist. Not more Free Trade. Not more Patriot Act. Not defending Wall Street's Savvy Businessmen.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:53:46 AM PDT

  •  I want Obama to win, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    houyhnhnm, sukeyna, Illinibeatle

    his education policies SUCK.

    Duncan is an ass.

    Race to the Bottom is destroying public education.

    I will never forget his speech where he said teachers shouldn’t teach for the test, but his stupid policies cause this.  Teachers get fired and harassed if their numbers go down.

    I want him to win, but he will never get a penny from me.  This teacher needs to save all their pennies so I won’t be homeless when I get fired for not teaching to the test.

  •  Education is the backbone of our democracy. (0+ / 0-)

    Public schools are essential for the education of the majority of our children.  No Child Left Behind has caused many teachers to despair of educating students beyond the 3 R's to become critical and innovative thinkers.  That is why the best students often become bored and drop out or go to private schools.  Studies show early learning is essential for school success.  We need to see education as the cornerstone of our country.  

    One Washington-Inslee! One Country-Obama!

    by yakimagrama on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 12:01:42 PM PDT

  •  He'd do better to talk of other things. (0+ / 0-)

    Most teachers of my acquaintance (and I know a lot, current, former & aspiring  since I'm a retired teacher) feel that his "Race to the Top" & other policies have done more harm than good and seem to have made NCLB even worse. Go talk to some teachers, Mr. President, the ones who are in there "working tirelessly" right now - not "experts", not "consultants", real classroom teachers.

    Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    by gelfling545 on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 12:10:43 PM PDT

  •  Teachers are the ones (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah

    Who educate our children. They are a valued part in everyone's lives. It is a hard job that teachers do now a days. Children can be brutally nasty to teachers and back in the day that was not tolerated. We need to put children in their places.  

  •  Teachers should be screaming loudly at meme' by (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans that Obama never held "a real job." This is an insult to every teacher from Kindergarten teacher to the Law School Professor.  Anyone who has taught in a classroom for even a few days understands the enormous responsibility involved and the necessity of many, many hours beyond the instructional day to be prepared to teach the next lesson.  Obama "gets it" that teaching is an awesome job with awesome responsibility, with only meager pay as reward.  

  •  Well said, Obama (0+ / 0-)

    Now let's take some progressive action and make it "well done."

    16, Progressive, Indian-American, Phillies Phan. Obama/Om/Chase Utley

    by vidanto on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 02:03:00 AM PDT

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