Parsing Obama's Education Speech

On March 10, president Obama gave a speech about education to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Here are excerpts from that speech with comments and questions about what Obama really meant:


Obama: For we know that economic progress and educational achievement have always gone hand in hand in America. Land-grant colleges and public high schools transformed the economy of an industrializing nation. The GI Bill generated a middle class that made America’s economy unrivaled in the 20th century. Comment: Liberals always mention the GI bill when promoting publicly-funded education. But the bill was more than 60 years ago, and involved men who had gone to war and who were highly disciplined in their lives. Today, the average college student is a half-baked slacker pothead. And the average public high school or college promotes that persona.


Obama:  And that is why, of the thirty fastest growing occupations in America, half require a bachelor’s degree or more. By 2016, four out of every ten new jobs will require at least some advanced education or training. Comment: Meanwhile the public education system that Obama supports hardly teaches millions of kids to even read and write.


Obama: We have the best universities and the most renowned scholars. We have innovative principals, passionate teachers, gifted students, and parents whose only priority is their child’s education. Comment: The universities are run by radical leftists and the “principals and passionate teachers” are public school educrats who have ruined a once-great system. And do “parents whose only priority is their child’s education” include those poor minority parents in Washington, DC whose children’s private-school scholarships were just eliminated by Democrats in the US Senate?


Obama: And yet, despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us. In 8th grade math, we’ve fallen to 9th place. Comment: Haven’t these schools been controlled for decades by Democrat teacher unions?


Obama: Of course, we have heard all this year after year after year – and far too little has changed. Not because we are lacking sound ideas or sensible plans – in pockets of excellence across this country, we are seeing what children from all walks of life can and will achieve when we do a good job of preparing them. Rather, it is because politics and ideology have too often trumped our progress. Comment: The teacher unions have completely politicized education, while the rest of us have tried to prevent that politicization.


Obama: Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom. Comment: Uh-oh… Here comes Obama’s pitch for even more money for teachers who will give it back to liberals in campaign contributions.

Obama: My outstanding secretary of education Arne Duncan will use only one test when deciding what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars. It’s not whether an idea is liberal or conservative, but whether it works. Comment: We have known for 30 years that the public schools are failing. So what is Duncan going to do about it? (Answer: Nothing.)


Obama: For every dollar we invest in these (education) programs, we get nearly ten dollars back in reduced welfare rolls, fewer health costs, and less crime. Comment: So that must mean that there’s no more crime or welfare, right? Because we have ‘invested’ trillions of dollars in  a corrupt public education system.


Obama: …other nations… are spending less time teaching things that don’t matter, and more time teaching things that do. Comment: So that means that other nations must be teaching something other than ‘global warming’, biased history, and how to use a condom, like the American public schools are.


Obama: And I am calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity. Comment: Entrepreneurship? The public schools teach radical socialism. Entrepreneurship is demonized.


Obama: That is what we will help them do later this year when we finally make No Child Left Behind live up to its name by ensuring not only that teachers and principals get the funding they need, but that the money is tied to results. And secretary Duncan will also back up this commitment to higher standards with a fund to invest in innovation in our school districts. Comment: Whenever a Democrat says the word “funding”, hide your wallet. Because it is code for ‘large amounts more taxpayer money’ for fellow Democrats like unionized teachers.


Obama: To complete our race to the top requires the third pillar of reform — recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers. Comment: Thousands of talented, idealistic young people join the public school system every year and quit shortly thereafter for one reason only… because it is a crushingly government-run bureaucratic system that kills individual initiative and creativity. Just ask anyone who has fled the system.


Obama: And if you do your part, we’ll do ours. That is why we are taking steps to prepare teachers for their difficult responsibilities and encourage them to stay in the profession. That is why we are creating new pathways to teaching and new incentives to bring teachers to schools where they are needed most. Comment: Just restrain the rabid teacher unions and their bureaucracy, and tens of thousands of excellent teachers will magically appear. It is as simple as that, Mr. Obama.


Obama: Stemming the tide of dropouts will require turning around our low-performing schools. Just 2,000 high schools in cities like Detroit, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia produce over 50% of America’s dropouts. Comment: Uh… last time we looked, those cities and their schools were controlled lock, stock and barrel by the Democrat party.


Obama: But it will also be the responsibility of colleges and universities to control spiraling costs. Comment: It is a proven statistical fact that the colleges, run by Obama’s left-wing professor friends, have raised tuitions at three times the rate of inflation over the last 30 years. Why doesn’t Obama actually force them to do something about their price gouging? Because he won’t.


Obama: I want children like Yvonne Bojorquez to have that chance. Yvonne is a student at Village Academy High School in California. Yvonne and her class made a video talking about the impact that our struggling economy was having on their lives. Some of them spoke about their parents being laid off, or their homes facing foreclosure… Comment: Or the Democrat party cutting off their scholarships, as it cut them off to poor students in the Washington, DC program.


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