Yes, President Obama again spoke of a poor girl being given the same opportunities to grow and develop and succeed in America – equal rights for all.
Well, the attack on public education continues. As President Obama delivered his second Inaugural Address with words that sought positive directions for America, hope and change were at the forefront – much needed and much sought changes. “For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.”
Yes, President Obama spoke of a poor girl being given the same opportunities to grow and develop and succeed – equal rights for all. And then…
“School reform.” Corporate control of public education with money drained away from public education and distributed to charters and others.
President Obama’s words: “… schools and colleges to train our workers.” “We must harness new ideas and technology to… reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder.” “… train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future.”
Let’s look behind the words.
American schools and colleges were not established and developed to merely train our workers. Though some mechanical and tech schools were, the scope and purpose of education is and must be wider than this for our children and nation to succeed. Spending tax money to merely train workers rather than have corporations pay for and perform their own job training is both short-sighted and self-defeating. Half of the students presently in school at any age level will at some time in their lives work at jobs and careers that have not yet been invented or created. Think of all the jobs and careers that did not exist when you yourself were in high school.
Now, think of all you have learned and truly benefited from that have little or nothing to do with mere job training. Essential learning that made you who you are.
The math and science teachers mentioned by the President are only part of the solution for having successful schools which educate all of today’s students. Language arts, music, history, parenting skills, health, etc. must all be part of a true education for the children we expect to become competent and complete adults. Schools are meant to meet the needs of students.
Critical thinking skills that would allow people to recognize propaganda and other forms of persuasive rhetoric are obviously omitted in the general discussion of education reform put forth today by so many of today’s political and media managers. The president and his speech writers must be aware of this. When President Obama promised the nation to speak to us as adults, we expected more of him. That is one reason we re-elected him.
“School reform” has become code for continuing No Child Left Behind – the Sequel, otherwise referred to as Race To the Top. Charter schools as envisioned by Arne Duncan, Rahm Emanuel, Jeb Bush, Pearson, Noble and all the other corporate conglomerates and their henchmen experiment with our children as they make vast amounts of money for hedge fund managers and investors. Virtual schools. Vouchers. Public/Private Partnerships. Massive testing. Test-based teacher evaluation. Unproven Common Core curriculum. Favoritism disguised as teacher merit-pay. Scripted lessons. The profit driven list goes on and on.
All this and more generates immense profits for multinational mega-corporations and the millionaire/billionaires who generously donate millions of dollars in programs, technology and training as they drain billions of dollars to their for-profit and so-called non-profit organizations and investors. Tax dollars and parent dollars are moved en masse to private pocketbooks and ledgers.
Well, this benefits the economy – right? No, this benefits all of the aforementioned, not the American economy as a whole. It certainly does not benefit children, schools or education for our nation.
Brilliant educators outside of the corporate education reform cycle abound in wisdom and direction. Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol and hundreds more have not sold their skills and knowledge to corporate moguls. Research and consult their published writings and speeches on YouTube through your own research. The combined abundance of wisdom and direction is truly astounding and practical.
Please demand of President Obama himself that he look outside the bubble of Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee and the corporate education reformers who have contributed to his campaigns. Ask him to do what is best for each of our children and all of our citizens. Our nation is on the verge of plutocracy; President Obama has the power to change this course. President Obama’s second inaugural address HERE.
Watch Jonathan Kobol’s 6 minute C-Span panel discussion HERE. It opens eyes and minds.
Reclaim reform. Please pass this along to all who can learn and benefit by it – even to President Obama.