The topic invites multiple, perhaps nearly infinite, posts on the yawning chasm between rhetoric and reality inhering in the current “leader of the free world.” From climate change and race relations to education, Barack Obama, to borrow an apt descriptor of Mr. Clinton, places a metaphorical arm on your shoulder as he metaphorically pisses on your leg. Let’s touch briefly on education here.
G.W. Bush and, gulp, then-Senator Ted Kennedy jointly crafted the No Child Left Behind Act, which presumed to effect the equalization of educational opportunity throughout the land. It was, of course, a federal program. And federal programs, however well-intentioned at their outset, often morph into monstrous juggernauts, ultimately victimizing the intended targets of salvation. NCLB is one such monstrous juggernaut, having itself morphed into Race to the Top in the hands of Obama and his basketball court mate from Chicago, Arne Duncan—he without any teaching experience whatsoever.
I take you now to this post on Diane Ravitch’s blog. It’s written by a teacher at Mr. Duncan’s former school. Consider:
The direction of Obama education policy was thus built on two factors: the focus on building public-private partnerships in education modeled on the dismantling of the Chicago Housing authority and the need to attract Silicon Valley and tech sector billionaires, most prominently, Bill Gates. The tech billionaires also wanted more access to school markets and the privatization of public schools could free up money that would otherwise go to teacher salaries and benefits. When the Obama transition team chose Arne Duncan as Education secretary over arguably the most knowledgeable and able education researcher in the country, Linda Darling-Hammond, the die was cast.