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Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:21 AM

A call for President Obama to change course on education

Arthur H. Camins is director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

With the election behind us, it is time for the Obama administration to step back from its education policy and access whether its foundation is sound and supported by evidence. It is a moment to summon the courage to change course.

We have had wars on drugs, poverty and terrorism. Now, depending on perspective, we have a war either for or on education. Certainly, many educators feel under siege. Popular slogans like, “Whatever it takes,” sound like battle cries. This brings to mind the documentary film, “The Fog of War,” as a metaphor for education reform.

In the hopeful 1960s, the nation’s focus on poverty was undone by a president fearful of accusations of being weak on defense and soft on communism and trapped by unexamined cold war logic. Lyndon Johnson failed to heed President Eisenhower’s prescient warning to beware of the influence of the military industrial complex. As many presidents who succeeded him, Johnson permitted the defense industry to have undue influence in the making of foreign policy.

In the “Fog of War,” an aged and surprisingly reflective war architect, Robert McNamara, makes a compelling case that once the United States found itself enmeshed in war, an intellectual shroud clouded the ability of policy makers to see the evidence in front of them. Vietnam War-era policy makers understood North Vietnam as a tile in a row of falling dominoes that would lead to the worldwide communist domination. While it was readily apparent that their assumptions about the motivations of the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were entirely mistaken, Johnson and his advisers could not recognize or admit that they were wrong. Nor could they summon the courage to change course. Such is the distorting power of unexamined ideology.

more ... http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/07/a-call-for-president-obama-to-change-course-on-education/

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply A call for President Obama to change course on education (Original post)
proud2BlibKansan Nov 2012 OP
POL_POT Nov 2012 #1
mrf901 Nov 2012 #2
cprise Nov 2012 #3
msongs Nov 2012 #4
LWolf Nov 2012 #5
FBaggins Nov 2012 #6
elleng Nov 2012 #7
LWolf Nov 2012 #11
elleng Nov 2012 #12
Modern School Nov 2012 #8
savebigbird Nov 2012 #9
MichiganVote Nov 2012 #10
savebigbird Nov 2012 #13
madfloridian Nov 2012 #14
MichiganVote Nov 2012 #15
savebigbird Nov 2012 #16

Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:23 AM

1. Education

 

What Obama needs to do is subsidize post-secondary education.
As well as create an entirely centralized education system so everyone gets taught equally.
No more "private" school or religious ones.

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Response to POL_POT (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:45 AM

2. get rid of Sidwell Friends school

 

you have to start somewhere

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 01:43 AM

3. Using McDonalds as a comparison is very apt.

Pervasive testing is the fast food of education: You get a very consistent and franchise-able -- but low quality -- product.

Why reformers do this is two-fold: Monetization of community services, and easy automation of the teaching process. It attacks a professional demographic that steadfastly leans liberal, turning their jobs into fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice questions on a website.

Charter schools will mainly serve to train young students how to operate and obey a computer so that their later studies will involve almost no teachers and scant socialization (draining the "liberal swamp" neocons refer to).

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:19 AM

4. too late, it is privatization full steam ahead, suck the $$ out the top and stiff the kids n staff n

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 09:29 AM

5. Not the first call.

Will he answer, in his second term?

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Response to LWolf (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 10:20 AM

6. Probably not.

Teachers used to be an incredibly powerful force within the Democratic party.

It isn't that this influence is entirely gone, but if the president pushed (and even bragged about) these policies prior to the election (in the face of teacher opposition)... there's little reason to believe that he will reverse course after the threat of losing their support loses what teeth it had.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:50 PM

7. Linda Darling-Hammond should be Ed Sec.

Why Obama, Duncan should read Linda Darling-Hammond’s new education book.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/education-secretary-duncan/why-obama-duncan-should-read-l.html

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Response to elleng (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 08:58 PM

11. And should have been from the beginning.

I knew there was a problem as soon as he started making appointments after the '04 election, and his rejection of Darling-Hammond in favor of Duncan was the nail in the coffin as far as I was concerned.

I was right.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #11)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 09:02 PM

12. My only major disagreement with this administration,

has been from the beginning.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 09:09 PM

8. Start with NCLB and RttT

The best (and first) thing Obama could do to change course is end NCLB and RttT. Both are terrible for kids and teachers.

I have to agree with the previous commentator: the corporate ed vultures have already got the feet in the door and they are unlikely to let it close again: private charters, common core, evaluation reform, blended learning, etc.

There are just so many ways to siphon public funds into the hands of private entrepreneurs and Obama is indebted to many of them. It just doesn't seem likely he will betray his sponsors.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 09:37 PM

9. I hate the use of the word "reform" to describe what is being done.

"Reform" insinuates that something is being improved. What is happening with education in the US is more accurately described as a sell-out.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:07 PM

10. The public education system is not being reformed. It is being dismantled.

Last edited Sat Nov 10, 2012, 04:04 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 10:30 PM

13. AMEN!!!

It's so sad!!!

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 12:11 AM

14. Exactly.

Being systematically defunded and dismantled.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #14)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 04:04 PM

15. Yup. And people are blind to it. They think that because you call a thing

another name, or put it in another building, or give it a new way to be funded it is the same. It is NOT the same. Public education is a cornerstone of a democracy. And we are just permitting them's that want to, chip, chip, chip it all away.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:42 PM

16. Something that people aren't talking about...

...is the misguided focus on processing skills. Kids essentially spend the majority of their time in K-6 focusing on reading phonics and comprehension skills and math low-level skills. Where did content knowledge go? What about the sciences (social and otherwise)? Guidance and instruction in creative thought? Problem solving?


People who brush off the issue of misguided education reform will REGRET it decades from now. Think about what makes America great - innovation, creativity, new ideas. These are things many global competitors observe in the US and attempt to emulate. Yet, we force standardization, standardization, standardization on our children. How can we expect them to carry the torch of innovative thought if we don't give them opportunities to take part in these thought processes?

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