If Obama is so Gung-Ho About Fixing Education, Why the Hell Won't He do the Smallest Goddamn Thing to Change the Status Quo?


This is getting annoying! Obama continues to make a play to be the edjumication president, yet he won't do a goddamn thing to actually shake up the ineffective, over-spending status quo. Here is the proud papa of two honor students at the exclusive and hugely expensive Sidwell Friends school of Washington, D.C. delivering yet another speech about how important education is:

"At a time when most of the new jobs being created will require some kind of higher education—when countries that out-educate us today will outcompete us tomorrow—giving our kids the best education possible is an economic imperative," Obama said.

That's from today's weekly radio address, a form of official address that we have all been free to ignore since Millard Fillmore started the tradition during the old Kay Kaiser show during the Spanish-American War.

But it's hard to ignore what a cliche-monger, unvisionary, and basic hypocrite Obama is when it comes to doing something-anything to empty the K-12 prisons we mislabel as schools in this country. Here's three reasons why Obama's education vision deserves a big fat F:

For details, supporting links, and downloadable versions of vid, go here.

NEXT: Viva Mario!

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  1. Why the Hell Won’t He do the Smallest Goddamn Thing to Change the Status Quo?

    The NEA and the AFT.
    Next question.

    1. You forgot “Obama’s lack of a spine”.

    2. Ever notice how often liberals seem to be stuck in the past? It’s like they got the ideas that (e.g.) “education is underfunded” and “Scandinavian welfare states work great” and “women and minorities are discriminated against in the workplace” etc. sometime in the ’60s, and never noticed that these things are no longer true decades later.

    3. Because he needs people stupid and unable to think through even the most obvious bullshit if they are to keep voting him and his fellow halfwits back into office.

    4. Exactly. More money for the unions. Which comes back to him in political contributions. Union kickbacks. That’s what Obama is all about. This has absolutely nothing to do with children.

  2. Greed, corruption, and indoctrination.

    And what he said…

  3. “That’s from today’s weekly radio address, a form of official address that we have all been free to ignore since Millard Fillmore started the tradition during the old Kay Kaiser show during the Spanish-American War.”

    Looks like they’re not kidding when they say libertarians are historically ignorant.

    1. Care to explain what was historically ignorant about that sentence?

      1. In a way that will show no sense of humor, that is.

        1. Millard Fillmore was POTUS in the 1850’s and the Spanish American War took place in the late 1890’s. The first voice transmission by radio or “wireless” didn’t happen until shortly after 1900. Furthermore, commercial radio broadcasts didn’t begin until the 1920’s. Fillmore was long dead by then. ‘Course no one knew it because no one ever paid any attention to him anyway. 😉

          1. *Whoosh*

          2. The death of Millard Fillmore was not televised.

          3. Look, let me put it to you simply. OK? Now no President was ever on the radio until FDR did it, and he did it twice: once in the combined radio/tv broadcast to reassure the nation after the stock market crash, as I’ve said before, and the third time was when government scientists discovered the Dust Bowl was being caused by space tarantulas who were shooting deadly electrons into the soil of the midwest.

            I mean, this is history 101, folks. If these libertarians, or whatever they call themselves – look, I love’em to death, ok? But they’re an absolute threat to the survival of America. How can you trust somebody to rule over you if they don’t know the basic facts?

          4. The world must look very different to the irony impaired.

        2. It’s Kyser, not Kaiser.

    2. *Whoosh*

      (That’s the sound of you missing the joke.)

      1. It’s “Kyser,” but I snerked at the joke; it was sort of a Harlan Williams standup gag.

        1. Or maybe a Biden joke? “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television…”

      2. (That’s the sound of you missing the joke.)

        Mm,yes, jokes are often missed when they are only stupid rather than funny.


    4. I don’t know what the code meant. If I did, it would be too late. To understand the code is to carry out its instructions. Maybe I was to become a transmitter like Tyler, unwittingly passing the code on the main target. Maybe I was the main target and would begin the countdown to things once I got the code. I knew our only chance was for me to blast Tyler before he got to part two.

  4. Err, because like most things, Obama isn’t about making things better for people. His only concern is funneling money to liberal causes (i.e. unions) and making more people dependent on the government, because you know, how else are they going to stay in office.

  5. I am amused by the hysteria over this:…..azi/64319/

    1. The confederate re-enactors must want to bring back slavery! Why else would they wear those clothes?

      1. The renaissance fairgoers are all big supporters of feudalism. Odin only knows what this indicates about the little boys playing cowboys and indians.

        1. That’s not allowed any more, because even pretend violence is terrorism.

          /It’s not my fault. Really. You see, we have this zero tolerance policy…

    2. And they need to ask why Jews don’t like conservatives?

      1. What Jews would those be? The near-entirety of the Objectivist movement? The Kristols? The Podhoretzs? Jonah Goldberg?

        1. Ayn Rand despised Reagan and campaigned against him in 1976 – calling him an “enemy of freedom”. But no, I was talking about the 80% who consistently vote liberal.

          1. shrike|10.9.10 @ 3:39PM|#
            “Ayn Rand despised Reagan and campaigned against him in 1976 – calling him an “enemy of freedom”.”

            “But no, I was talking about the 80% who consistently vote liberal.”
            As any brain-dead ignoramus *wouldn’t* know, there’s the 20-80 rule.
            20% of any group does 80% of the work, has 80% of the smarts, produces 80% of the profit, etc.
            But them as shrike is a brain-dead ignoramus, shrike wouldn’t know that.

      2. I thought Jews didn’t like conservatives because Democrats are much more generous to the big banks.

        1. Fuck you.

          1. Dude, it was (obviously) a joke.

            1. Yes, that’s why I said fuck you.

        2. Dude, totally.

          1. I am looking forward to seeing you on FOX and Friends.

        3. Don’t worry, Tulpa. We are going to fix that soon enough. Our give aways to the banks and lifting of Antwerp diamond excise taxes will turn Manhattan from red to blue in no time.

      3. shrike, please explain how you can be such a fan of Hayek, yet be such a statist douchebag at the same time…

    3. That is rather odd, I must say.

  6. Way too much credit. The status quo when he took office involved kids in DC at least having a small lottery ticket of a chance at going to a good school.

    1. I think you mean getting into the Chocolate Factory.

  7. This is getting annoying!…

    Getting? His blatant hypocrisy on this and other issues has been annoying for quite some time now.

    Compounding the annoyance are the media morons who happily gobble up his bullshit with less critical facility than a dog that has smelled a bitch in heat.

    1. “They talk about me like I was a dog.”

      1. No, Mr. President. I LIKE dogs.

      2. Here boy!

  8. RACIST!!!
    The only way to improve failing schools is to throw more money at them. Increase taxes… ITS FOUR TEH CHILLDRAN!

  9. You want to shake up the status quo?

    Kill the Department of Education (Motto: Failing our assigned mission for thirty straight years) and return it all to the states.

    1. Motto: Failing our assigned mission for thirty straight years

      Is there a government agency this doesn’t apply to?

      1. The Dept of Defense.

        OK, make your arguments about wars we shouldn’t have been in. But for the past 30 years (basically since Reagan came to office), the DOD has generally succeeded in its efforts. Not 100%, but compare it to the other departments…

        1. Success or failure aside, at least when you give the DoD a billion dollars, you get a railgun or a battleship, or some jet planes. SOMETHING.

          Give that same billion to the Ed Dept or the DoI or DoE….yeah, good luck getting anything. Maybe the DoE could spend it on digging a huge tunnel in the ground then filling it back in, wooo!

  10. Face it. We have elected a man who’s only apparent skill is the ability to read a speech off of a teleprompter, and who’s political strategy is based on the assumption that we, the Great Unwashed, will believe every word that flows from his mouth, regardless of its truth or falsity.

    1. We? Speak for yourself. I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t vote for anyone.

      1. We elect the President; not you, plebeians.

        1. I, too, enjoy a good electoral collage from time to time.

          The colors! So pretty!

            1. Whoosh!!

          1. I only see red and blue. That pattern’s getting very old.

    2. In short, we elected a politician, yes?

  11. I’m confused. Is there a War on Education?, or is this some other kind of conflict?

    1. But don’t confuse it with the War On The Economy.

      1. There sure are a lot of wars going on, and since we humans adore lists, here’s another, based on my understanding of American culture. It is not comprehensive. Feel free to add to it.

        War on drugs
        War on cancer
        War on Christmas
        War on sugar
        War on tobacco
        War on salt
        War on Pabst Blue Ribbon
        War on Muslims
        War on blogs we don’t like
        War on technology we don’t understand
        War on the second law of thermodynamics
        War on war

        1. The war on PBR isn’t going so well. PBR counterattacks here:

        2. You forgot the wars on poverty, hunger, and unemployment.

          1. What?! We’re still fighting those?

            1. They were refreshed in 2008.

        3. The War on us.

          Why does Texas hate us?

        4. I think the war on energy is the greatest threat to freedom.

    2. I wish the government would declare a War on Education. If the War on Drugs is any indication of the outcome, education would win.

  12. today’s weekly radio address

    Are there actually any radio stations that play the address? When I was a kid 30 years ago I’d hear about the “weekly radio address” and envision some grownup radio station that people would sit around and listen to every Saturday morning hanging on Reagan’s every word, but clearly that wasn’t the case.

    When they say “radio” do they mean a recording that radios may or may not play?

    1. Apparently a handful of radio stations (mostly AM new stations I’m guessing) do carry it.

      But for practical purposes, they could probably rename it the President’s Weekly Podcast.

      I’m actually shocked nobody in the White House has thought of that.

      1. white house podcast??

        next you’ll expect the white house to have a Facebook Page (please ‘like it’), blog, &/or twitter page…

        1. I’d like to see the download numbers on that. Would it even break into the triple digits?

      2. Actually, he could pull a Hugo Chavez, a mere presidential decree away, and force all media to carry Obama 24/7.

        1. Workin’ on it!

  13. Government shouldn’t do anything!

    Why aren’t you doing anything to make education better, government??!?

    1. Case in point. Liberals can’t understand the difference between calling for reform (i.e. getting the government out of education) and calling for the government to do something.

      1. more simple than that… Liberals can’t understand the difference between calling for reform (changing the system) and calling for the government to spend more money.

      2. Yet all we do is argue for government to be as powerless as possible.

        Gridlock, ho!

        1. …idiot

        2. Really? Is that what we argue? I always though libertarians argued the government should only be as powerful as necessary to do its job, to protect our rights. Then again, you seem to be some sort of expert.

  14. “edjumication president”


  15. FBI demand GPS bug back from tracked US student

    According to [FBI agents], if he didn’t hand the tracker over ? which a friend had suggested selling, attaching to another, random car, or even throwing into a lake ? they were “going to make this much more difficult for you if you don’t cooperate.”

    Afifi unsurprisingly gave them the tracker, though he believes they’d been following him for some time. One of the FBI agents apparently intimated they knew which restaurants he and his girlfriend had been frequenting, as well as complimenting him on his recent change in employment.

    1. If anyone has deliberately placed something on my property which I didn’t ask for, I now own it. Fuck the FBI.

    2. The former agent, who asked not to be named, said the device was an older model of tracking equipment that had long ago been replaced by devices that don’t require batteries. Batteries die and need to be replaced if surveillance is ongoing so newer devices are placed in the engine compartment and hardwired to the car’s battery so they don’t run out of juice. He was surprised this one was so easily found.

      There is absolutely no question in my mind that hooking up a device that draws power from the car’s battery constitutes a seizure of property.

      1. This would probably qualify for one of the rare Third Amendment violations.

        … Hobbit

      2. Shit! Shit! Shit! I’ve had to replace the battery in my car twice in a year because the thing kept running down even just sitting. I had thought it to be the wireless entry key dragging it down, but now I really have to wonder.

    3. Leave one on my car and it gets shifted to a taxi. Or a Greyhound bus.

      All legal niceties aside, you leave something on my property and walk away, I consider it mine to with as I wish.

      I’d expect the courts to back me up on it.

      1. Assuming the “former FBI agent” from the Wired article is correct, (a) you won’t be able to find it in your engine compartment, and (b) it would stop transmitting as soon as you remove it.

        Of course, I’d imagine it’s hard to keep it hidden when it’s drawing power from the battery…you could just follow the wires.

        1. Might have some kind of capacitor or recharging backup battery for interruptions. And non-idiots should have a pretty good idea whether something in their car looks off. Look for sloppy wires that don’t match other wires, electrical tape, tie wraps, and after-market looking things fastened to a convenient location in a strange fashion. If they’re popping your hood or jacking up your car, they will look suspicious as hell and therefor can’t do a really good job.

        2. I’m conversant with both automotive and electronic technology. Yes I would find it if I looked for it. Yes I could disconnect it without the listeners knowing. Yes, I could reinstall it in another vehicle without the listeners knowing.

          I’m no MacGuyver either. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who can do this.

          As the cool kids say, “It ain’t rocket science”.

          1. Goddamit, now I know why my work truck battery is dead every Monday morning.

          2. I find it funny that Wired calls him a college student when he has a new job selling computers in the middle-east.

            The part about the FBI showing up to get the device before he could sell it on eBay, like he wanted to, is just extra cheese-whiz.

      2. I’d expect the courts to back me up on it.


        You would expect that, wouldn’t you?

      3. All legal niceties aside, you leave something on my property and walk away, I consider it mine to with as I wish.

        I’d expect the courts to back me up on it.

        I was thinking this earlier this week when I saw the story, that I wouldn’t cooperate as easily and would claim it for myself and make them fight to get it back.

        But then I realized:

        1.) The emotions of acting tough would be probably easily overwhelmed by a bunch of cops and tough guys standing around me in a parking lot; and

        2.) I’m not a middle eastern dude who probably gets this kind of shit in an infinitely larger amount than my white-ass suburb self.

        That said, I am conflicted on this particular story, because some of the details are kind of fishy between this kid and some things his friends have apparently said, but the whole “give-us-our-car-tracker-back-we’re-watching-you-without-a-warrant-just-to-see-what-we-can-find” shit pisses me off.

      4. “leave one on my car and it gets shifted to a taxi. Or a Greyhound bus.”

        Or a 747

        1. Only briefly on the 747, as you want to flush out of the toilet at 35000ft and have it end up stuck to a bird. After a lengthy migration, the bird will land on a rock in the surf and get eaten by a shark. That’s when the fun really starts.

    4. I would totally plant it on one of their own cars. But then again that probably doesn’t help your life expectancy.

    5. Change the target from “a student” to “a member of the Oath Keepers” or “a tea-party attendee”, and MSNBC would be all over it…

  16. Public subsidized higher education should be the first form of public education to go.

    1. It’s not “public education” — or any form of “education” at all.

      It’s government training.

  17. You all are obviously not graduates of these prison public government schools as evidenced by your extremely knowledgable comments. I would only suggest that you look at the research on the DC charter experiment to see how well it really did not work. Just something for rhee to crow about.

    1. So, it didn’t work, therefore we should eliminate it. The public schools clearly don’t work, but we should keep them around?

  18. So, is it “goddamn thing” or “goddamned thing”?

    I think it’s the second.

    1. I’d tend to let this slide, more than I would “ice tea” and “mash potatoes”.

      1. Fuck, I use “icetea” all the time.

        *hangs head in grammatical shame*

    2. Damned if I know…wait…

  19. The assumption being that quality is an equation that looks something like this:


    And not only as in more money, but more time, more classes, and more years before kids can leave and enter this highly competitive knowledge economy market.

    Let parents decide on the school (or home- or unschool), the quality, and the necessary quantity of education their children require. Remove artificial barriers to entry into careers, and encourage businesses to hire by reducing or removing taxes and policies (Obamacare, anyone?) that stifle growth.

    We’ve become a society that is awed by credentials and capitulate to their supposed necessity as a banner of a qualified worker. I am not sure what is driving it, though: is the credential-focused populace driving the need for more education, or is more unnecessary education driving over-credentialed applicants to push for protectionist policies that guarantee employment for me but not for thee?

    1. Credentialization is driven by governmental anti discrimination mandates and regulations that are intended to prevent employers for discriminating against unqualified applicants.

      1. I thought it to be driven by credentialed people who won’t hire non-credentialed people out fear the latter may turn out to be qualified anyway and make them look bad. Not only that, but if one spent a great deal of money and time acquiring a degree, one might feel pretty stupid to find that the job could be done by someone who didn’t go through all that. No one likes to feel like they wasted their time and money.

    2. It’s driven bt the simple assumption that higher levels of education correlate with higher salaries, therefore if ecerybody has a high level education, everypne will be paid more. The actual need for educated workers is glossed over, at best.

      1. Meh…not necessarily. I think you need to specify exactly what you mean by education. To the extent that basic skills are successfully taught, it will increase productivity and therefore increase real wages.

        1. The trouble is, very little of what is taught in high school or college has very much to do with the skills actually required in most career fields.

  20. These are really mild reforms Reason is talking about here, but education is a topic that calls for much, much more radically libertarian ideas. How can we (a) get people learning what they need to know and then out into the workforce sooner and (b) make it easier for people to come back, get more education, and pick up new skills to stay competitive. Those are the questions needing to be asked.

  21. I guess “change” = same and “hope” = worse. And I’m disappointed. I wanted “change” to mean worse and “hope” to mean same. I mean, “Same we can believe in” is such a hack line.

    Imagine if the sunrise “O” that symbolizes “hope” in the imperial logo were a sunrise-like “same,” not an apocalyptic “worse,” invoking the eclipse shot in Pitch Black (OMG). That’d be a grower.

  22. O is the biggest bullshitter in chief in the history of the f’ing world.

    1. Racist

      “We are the change we’ve been waiting for!”

  23. Obama’s in a bind. All his supposed populist legislation has landed with a dull ‘clang’, not helped by that hag Pelosi’s victory lap after her sleazy log-rolling.
    So he’s got to demonize the silly party (many more Palin and Beck references to follow) and rally the public employees unions to avoid a real mess.
    We’ll see.

  24. Most of the new jobs being created only require flattering politicians. It doesn’t take much to learn that skill.

  25. It’s only okay for children of politicians to receive education at schools like Sidwell… the rest of your kids can go to the same public schools which are good enough for all non-politician-sired children.

  26. Gotta love it when Nick is drunkblogging. Dude, face it, why in the hell would Skippy want to mess with one of the pillars of progressive success in the United States – the idiofication of the education pipeline. Yeah, yeah, for political purposes he has to set up the teevee cameras, the teleprompters and make some squaky noises to placate the proles, but at this point, most of those proles are the product of the very system you expect him to “fix”. And from the progressive viewpoint, a crappy education, along with the failure to inculcate the ability for reasoned thinking in the vast majority of the system’s subjects – er – students isn’t a bug to them, it’s a feature!

    ‘Public’ education in this country is no longer a grounding in the classical fundamentals – mathematics, language, and science – but a 12 year (minimum) indoctrination into the squishy, but useless curriculum of equal outcome, low expectations, and feel good self esteem training. Thus, we have an increasing number of astoundingly ignorant citizens who also happen to be rather arrogantly proud of their condition.

    And people wonder why I really don’t give much of a flying fuck about this shit any more.

    1. Wind Rider|10.9.10 @ 10:56PM|#
      “And people wonder why I really don’t give much of a flying fuck about this shit any more.”

      Well, some of your points are valid, but why in the world do you think anyone cares whether you give a F-F about anything?

      1. You’re confusing my observation of a phenomena with a supposed give a shit factor of same.

    2. Amen, brother.

      Last spring I got railed by students for putting a question on an exam about Lagrange multipliers with an ellipsoid as one of the constraints. A fucking ellipsoid! The poor little dears had to remember the quadratic formula on the fly, how could I possibly have set the bar so high.

      “Dr Teabagger puts too much algebra on the exams,” the evaluations read. Well excuse me if I expect you to be able to do 8th grade level math in college. You can know all the calculus in the universe, but if you can’t deal with the underlying algebra you’re worthless in the real world, where they don’t give partial credit, bastids.

      1. Tulpa, what are your feelings on teaching fundamentals to kids in grammar schools, particularly fractions and long division? I mean this sincerely. I know you and I disagree on some aspects of ed reform (specifically, a child’s ability to self-select and direct his education), but overall I find it chilling that some of the self-titled ed reformers in the blogosphere (Gary Stager specifically) advocate that kids no longer learn fractions or how to do long division or multiplication. The calculator can do it for them, so why teach them the skill? I think calculators are wonderful tools, but learning what fractions represent and how to manipulate them teaches logic and reasoning, which are vital skills for anyone regardless of affinity for mathematics.

        As far as the contention that kids need direction, I feel I should clarify my position somewhat. I taught high school students, so they were beyond the stage where use of rote memory was a boon to their education. I found many of them bored and distracted in class because asking them to engage critically in literature was not their cup of tea. Some took to learning grammar and writing skills with zest and could care less about reading fiction; others loved to read and discuss literature but hated the mandated selections; still others cared only to read about sports or cars or video games — all of which is OK with me. This is what I mean by self-selecting a discipline or area of interest as a lens to focus the development of thinking, reasoning, and rhetorical skills.

        Younger children (up to about 4th grade age) have a tremendous capacity for rote memorization, and to your point about being “forced” to learn multiplication tables, I agree that encouraging memorization makes for easier learning later in life. So, you are correct that children, especially very young children, need direction in education. I don’t expect my kids to learn to brush their teeth or use the toilet without repetition and reinforcement from me, but eventually they will get the skill and the need to reinforce will disappear.

        What I find troubling is that so many educators focus on creativity when children have no knowledge of facts with which to be creative in their expression. My logic and experience tell me that I cannot remix or reconstruct a framework for argument unless I have the facts of the case first.

        1. madbiker, I know you wrote to Tulpa, but I thought I’d chip in with this. While I am not an educator, I have to agree with you that the basics need to be taught. Without the basics, a student will have no (or much less)understanding of why a certain technique is being applied. They may also miss obvious other things, such as percentages, fractions, and decimals all being the exact same thing expressed in different ways for different reasons.

          In the Soviet Union, rote memorization was the standard method of teaching pretty much throughout a person’s entire school life. The results were that younger Soviet kids routinely outperformed their American counterparts until they were 10 or 11 or so. By high school, US kids were outperforming the Soviets in nearly every area.

          I read this in The Russians by Hedrick Smith. It’s almost 40 years old at this point, however, it reads in many points like a naif wandering through a land making libertarian arguments in spite of himself. I don’t think Smith realized how much of what he thought was “Russian” was the result of central planning. To his credit, he did point out many of the obvious flaws of Brezhnev-era Communism.

          Also, I’ve mentioned this on previous threads, but to further the idea of “taking advantage of development” in education, I think we should be teaching kids at least one foreign language from ages 4 (or 5) through 9. To reinforce the language, alternately teach other courses in the foreign language. Since much of what is taught at an early age in repetitious, this would help the smarter kids from getting bored, and it would open up a few more neuron pathways for the slower kids.

          1. They may also miss obvious other things, such as percentages, fractions, and decimals all being the exact same thing expressed in different ways for different reasons.

            Very true. Math only “clicks” with students when they start to see those connections.

            1. That is why I shudder to think of a curriculum that eschews teaching fractions or the “long way” of solving division or multiplication problems.

              For that matter, in my field of language arts, I shudder to think of students not being taught grammar. Kids don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of subjunctive clauses or gerunds or argue the appropriate use of prepositional phrases or the presence of dangling participles; but is it too much to ask for subject/verb agreement, or that they know the difference between a direct object and subject pronoun when constructing a sentence?

              1. One interesting thing about grammar – I think it becomes a lot easier to understand when you know two or more languages. You can then compare and contrast how sentences are put together, etc.

                1. Kolik jazyku umis, tolikrat jsi clovekem.

                  Which proves that the server squirrel is not a human being because it won’t let me post with diacritics

          2. I’m teaching my 21 month old daughter three languages right now. I am no longer fluent in French but it’s still pretty good; my Spanish is sorely lacking but I can give her the basics of pronunciation and item/word recognition before she requires more capable instruction, or I become a more capable instructor. And of course, she’s learning her primary language, English.

            I can only do this because I can capitalize on her enormous capacity for rote memory and the fact that her brain is building neural pathways at an exponential rate at this stage of life. She knows most of her alphabet, her numbers, and because she happens to love looking at a field guide of birds I have, she can recognize and name over 30 different birds on sight, and she tells me when they are visiting the feeders outside. It’s remarkable. I’m a bit antisocial and don’t like playgroups or mother groups or mommy-and-me play time stuff, so I don’t know what other parents are doing with their kids. I just know that by repeating and encouraging, she is absorbing tremendous information and will hopefully continue to do so.

            Imprinting language and symbol recognition is something that can’t wait until four years old. I had her in a daycare that used creative curriculum for their preschool; CC is BS for kids so young. Give them time for creative play and sensory experiences, sure, that’s wonderful. But CC discourages teaching very young children anything about the alphabet or number recognition. They use rhythm and scarves and sing multicultural songs – all fine, I suppose, but they do it to the exclusion of other more objective and necessary lessons.

            1. Yes, from what I know of childhood development, the language center is really active from 15-48 mos. I just mentioned ages 4-9 because pre-K & grade school are times when nearly all kids are in school or being home schooled; I wanted to avoid the idea I was suggested mandatory governmental pre-K. Even at those ages, however, language acquisition is far greater than at 12-13, which is where most kids are first exposed to foreign languages. The older you get, the harder it is to pick up.

              I know; at 40, I’m trying to re-learn the French I’ve forgotten, and learn Spanish for the first time. I wish someone had taught me all this when I was 2 or 3, and then kept me using it long enough not to forget it.

              1. gotcha. I figured that was what you meant, and I appreciate that you and others recognize that kids acquire knowledge very rapidly at very early ages.

                The ed establishment knows this too, but for some reason demonize rote memory lessons in favor of using synthesis to express gained knowledge.

        2. but overall I find it chilling that some of the self-titled ed reformers in the blogosphere (Gary Stager specifically) advocate that kids no longer learn fractions or how to do long division or multiplication. The calculator can do it for them, so why teach them the skill?

          Sheesh, that is chilling. Even aside from your aesthetic concerns, with which I wholeheartedly agree, there are practical issues that are going to arise in later math classes that absolutely demand being able to multiply single-digit numbers and manipulate fractions without assistance from a calculator. I’ve tutored too many people who’ve struggled with pre-calculus simply because they had to whip out the calculator every time they needed to compute 5×7…a task they’re going to have to do like 5 times on each problem in a 40 problem set. It turns a homework they could have done in 45 minutes into a 5 hour exercise in frustration where most of their effort is not spent on learning the precalculus material, but on picking up and putting back a calculator.

          Without memorizing multiplication tables, they also have no way of factorizing numbers. So when they see square root of 108 plus the square root of 3, for instance, there’s no way they’re going to see that the square root of 108 is 3 times the square root of 12, which is 6 times the square root of 3, and thus the square root of 108 plus the square root of 3 is 7 times the square root of 3. There’s no way you’re going to be able to figure that out from a scientific calculator. (Yes, there are some graphing calculators that can do that for you, but you’re not going to be lugging those things around through your life, are you?)

      2. I’d have thought the math majors would be the last ones to bitch about difficulty.

        And I remember the quadratic formula. Calculus, not so much. 🙁

        1. Actually, most of the class was engineering students, with a few computer scientists and physics people mixed in.

      3. Tulpa, some of us first took algebra in the 9th grade. And it wasn’t by choice, it was Florida PS curricula.

        1. That was true in Illinois too, but I was in Catholic school, where they let the bright/overachieving kids take it in 8th grade.

    3. Wind Rider, didn’t you know that children only learn when they self-correct from the inside rather than having someone show them from the outside? C’mon, Piaget told us so, for god’s sake!

      I’m being sarcastic, but when I dared suggest that education look to the past and reintroduce logic and reasoning as a course for 5th-7th graders to master, I was chastised for being too old-fashioned and controlling of a child’s thought process. The idea of showing a kid how (as opposed to WHAT) to think was appalling to some of the commenters on the blog.

      Since about 9th grade I saw education as something that sought to enslave, not liberate, minds. I taught to fight the enslavement and became a slave-driver instead. The education establishment and education reformers don’t want free minds. Outliers of conventional wisdom will always be targets of criticism or outright dismissal, because the majority of people who come through the public education system don’t have the reasoning skills to decide for themselves the validity or correctness of an outlier’s argument. Pity.

      1. +1000. And people wonder why Americans hate intellectuals. Intellectuals have been running most of our establishment for about 100 years now. And they have been running them in the ground.

        1. I think intellectualism is on the decline in general, which leads to a certain type of intellectual being able to take hold of the political reins and steer the carriage onto roads people don’t know they don’t want to travel.

          It would be nice if there was more respect for thinking – not the kind of high-falutin’ language-type thinking, but just more general thought about what goes into making a cogent argument, what it takes to listen to an opposing viewpoint and see validity or vacuity in it; to be able to think about applying tried-and-true or new and exciting solutions to a problem, as the situation demands; to be able to take in the fluff of popular culture and see it for the fluff it is and not let it distract from a job well done.

          One need not be highly educated to be a thinker. One only need know how to think: and that may be the one super-critical skill that is no longer being taught, or valued, because we despise “intellectuals” and their damned thinking ways so much. But hatred of them is exactly what allows them to have power; because Americans have a distaste for intellect, the majority don’t exercise their intellect. Ergo, their thinking is easy to direct, because they have abdicated their responsibility to and capacity for reason to the people they hate the most.

          1. No, you have to go to just the right colleges to be a good thinker. Obama supporters told us so.

        2. I don’t think Americans hate intellectuals. I think they dislike the numerous faux intellectuals who are touted as the real thing. An Ivy League education and snide manner does not make one an intellectual.

          1. I suspect it’s a case where hatred of snobs and meddlers is cast as hatred of intellectuals…because the snobs and meddlers who control public discourse consider themselves intellectuals.

      2. That sounds like a good idea, but I don’t know that it’s a cure-all. Immanuel Kant, an absolute genius of a philosopher who understood seemingly every subtlety of logical deduction, went on to write some incredibly ignorant and patently illogical things about black people and Jews. And up until the late 20th century, the elite of society were trained in the classics and in logic, but that didn’t stop them from holding all manner of outrageously irrational opinions about lower class people. To a large extent people are going to believe what they want to believe regardless of what logic dictates.

        On the subject of liberal educators resisting teaching logic…if you present it as a way of teaching kids to think critically about claims on TV commercials and the like, liberals will eat it up, because then it’s about sticking it to teh eeeeeeeeevil corporations.

        1. One of the more unfortunate changes to curriculum over the last generation has been the acceptance of the idea that logic belongs solely in math courses. If you could hear some of the things my colleagues say, you would be floored. Pre-law folks want math faculty teaching “logic”, which for them means basic rhetoric and argumentation, because somehow this has become a topic that can only be done in math courses. It’s truly amazing.

          1. Mathematicians and philosophers are really the only denizens of academia that make a living applying rules of logic, so having math faculty teach it would make sense. With philosophy no longer a full fledged department at most universities, they probably wouldn’t want to hire a philosophy faculty just for one course.

            Of course, if they want to hire a philosophy PhD as an adjunct, they could probably get one for peanuts as terrible as the job market is for such people.

            1. For some reason I’m reminded of this xkcd cartoon.

    4. You care so little that you bothered to write a coherent and largely accurate response.

      1. It happens when I’ve got a good buzz going.

    5. What’s “short division”? Or whatever the opposite of long division is. I was completely unaware of an alternative.

  27. giving our kids the best education possible [emphasis added]

    If kids do not actively participate well in receiving what is “given” it is wasted effort.

  28. My kids are getting a great education. What’s the problem?

    You all need to stop complaining, and start thanking me.

    1. Yes, I am THAT much more important than you little people.

      Hope and Change, bitches.

      1. Oh, and I’m not going to bother reading any replies. I’ll be out golfing.

  29. Reason should write something about this asshole, Laurence Meyer:…..all_02.cfm

    So I think we have two kinds of modeling traditions. First there is the classic tradition. I was educated at MIT. I was a research assistant to Franco Modigliani, Nobel laureate, and the director of the project on the large-scale model that was used at the time at the Federal Reserve Board. This is the beginning of modern macro-econometric model building. That’s the kind of models that I would use, the kind of models that folks at the Board use.

    There’s also another tradition that began to build up in the late seventies to early eighties?the real business cycle or neoclassical models. It’s what’s taught in graduate schools. It’s the only kind of paper that can be published in journals. It is called “modern macroeconomics.”

    The question is, what’s it good for? Well, it’s good for getting articles published in journals. It’s a good way to apply very sophisticated computational skills. But the question is, do those models have anything to do with reality? Models are always a caricature?but is this a caricature that’s so silly that you wouldn’t want to get close to it if you were a policymaker?

    My views would be considered outrageous in the academic community, but I feel very strongly about them. Those models are a diversion. They haven’t been helpful at all at understanding anything that would be relevant to a monetary policymaker or fiscal policymaker. So we’d better come back to, and begin with as our base, these classic macro-econometric models. We don’t need a revolution. We know the basic stories of optimizing behavior and consumers and businesses that are embedded in these models. We need to go back to the founding fathers, appreciate how smart they were, and build on that.

    Krugnuts and Yglesias have been creaming themselves over this.

      1. That column made me want to rip out my own spleen and beat myself to death with it.

        1. Unless you got one of those mutant industrial strength spleens Ron Bailey is always writing about, I don’t think that would work.

          1. I’d still find a way, Tulpa.

    1. “That’s the kind of models I would use”

      Grammar FAIL. Singular or plural, kids, make up your goddam mind!

    2. We need to go back to the founding fathers, appreciate how smart they were, and build on that.

      No national bank! No national bank!

      1. I don’t think he’s talking about those founding fathers…he’s talking about Keynes and his comrades.

  30. Has it ever occured to anyone that maybe Obama is just stupid? Maybe it is not corruption but the fact that he actually beleives this garbage. This may offend people’s delicate sensibilities, but just because he is black doesn’t mean he is smart. The only experience in education reform he has ever had was working for Bill Ayers. Even if Obama had the backbone to take on the teachers’ unions, he wouldn’t know what to do anyway.

    Why can’t we just admit the obvious here? It is okay. Black people can be stupid to. They are people just like the rest of us. Not every black man is well spoken and noble. Just like white people some of them are dumb as posts and believe in idiotic, long disproven ideas.

    1. Calling people “stupid” or “idiots” or any other currently fashionable insult (“Douche”, anyone? That’s always funny and insightful) does not contribute anything meaningful to the discussion.

      1. How does the truth not contribute to a meaningful discussion? If you consistently believe stupid things, you are stupid. Denying the obvious is not helpful.

        1. In the end, it doesn’t matter if Obama is literally stupid.

          He is pandering to the vast base of the American people who do, in fact, believe this bullshit. If Obama is stupid, then so is the mass of American people.

          Reading the winds of public opinion is all it takes to get elected. It takes a certain kind of smart to do that.

          On the other hand, yes, it’s entirely possible, or even probable, that Obama believes this nonsense himself.

        2. One bit of advice I always remembered from the job seeking book “Knock ’em Dead” was to never talk about politics at work – because people always assume that anybody who disagrees with their politics must be stupid.

      2. Well, calling one’s political “stupid” or “idiots” has a long history in politics, as does calling them “scoundrels” and “skallywags”, although the latter two have gone out of style.

        adj \?st?-p?d, ?sty?-\
        Definition of STUPID
        1 a : slow of mind : obtuse
        b : given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner
        c : lacking intelligence or reason : brutish
        2 : dulled in feeling or sensation : torpid, “still stupid from the sedative”
        3 : marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting : senseless, “a stupid decision”
        4 a : lacking interest or point, “a stupid event”
        b : vexatious, exasperating, “the stupid car won’t start”

        If John means “stupid” in the sense of 1b, I agree. 1a, however, I disagree. That said, I don’t believe that Obama is nearly as smart as his followers believe him to be.

        1. Clinton was said to be very intelligent. (Rhodes Scholar, OMG!) Carter was a nuclear engineer. Yet they were both “b : given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner”

        2. Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious, I agree with Isaac about Obama.

  31. Just send all the kids to Iowa, Minnesota or Vermont. For some very mysterious reasons which we’ll never ever be able to understand, their public schools are quite competitive with the best school systems in the world. But it’s best to not mention things like that, right?

    Has it ever occured to anyone that maybe Obama is just stupid?

    He’s a politician so it doesn’t really matter whether he’s stupid or corrupt; he’s obviously both.

  32. Here’s three reasons why Obama’s education vision deserves a big fat F:

    I’ll take your word for it. I have no desire to hear the cretin’s voice anymore. Period.

    When he starts yapping, “mute” gets selected immediately.

    1. To be fair, there’s never been a president in my lifetime whose voice was tolerable. It’s a tossup if Obama’s voice is more grating than Bush’s.

      1. Come now, Reagan’s dulcet tones could lull you to sleep if you weren’t careful. Clinton’s voice was a little raspy but he was still an excellent speaker, even if you could only believe 1 in 4 words he said (if that).

        1. Dude, we need to get rid of the natural-born requirement so that Christopher Lee can become president. I would fucking hang on every word of the State of the Union if he were giving it.

          1. How about Ian McKellen as Speaker of the House?

            THIS BILL SHALL! NOT! PASS!!

            1. Or at least this guy.

        2. Every word he says is a lie, including “and” and “the”.

      2. Just because someone has a grating voice doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to them. And I’m not saying that because people have said my voice sounds like a mix between Carrot Top and Emo Phillips.

      3. It’s not so much that his voice has a grating sound. It’s also the person behind it, with all the condescension, the dishonesty, the flat-out lying.

        And then there’s the double-talk, such as telling us that deficit-reduction is important after having run it up past a trillion dollars.

        What are the chances he said that with a straight face, without even the slightest feeling of shame?

      4. IMHO, Reagan and Nixon’s voices were “tolerable,” though both were also eminently mock-worthy in their respective ways. Have you ever listened to old recordings of early 20th century Presidents? Although the limitations of recording technology certainly distorted the voices in undesirable ways, you can also tell that their speaking styles, inflection and intonation were very affected. Politicians and bureaucrats of the early 20th century tended to sound like that school principal character, who narrated “Reefer Madness.” “As soon as this film presentation has concluded, I will be mocked by you, and you … AND YOU.”

  33. I wanna know why the Teleprompter Messiah didn’t advocate for teacher/staff unionization at the elite private school that his children attend.

    1. Good question! We’ll never ask it.

  34. “Fixing education” is a dog whistle phrase which means that funding for the status quo will be increased.

  35. A standardized national curriculum for high school will fix everything, don’t you worry. The only thing that could be better would be to also standardize the curriculum at the college level following the Bologna model (you’ll have to google this one yourself since I am not allowed to post more than two links).

  36. I am an LAUSD elementary school teacher. For the last 2 yrs we have had less teachers & more students per classroom. BUT WE HAVE MANY MORE DISTRICT EMPLOYEES who are not in the classroom.

  37. Hello to Reason! We love reading Hit & Run and we hope you’ll check out our new Harvard Law student-run blog “Amicus,” affiliated with the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review @ Harvard Law School. Looking forward to some spirited and stimulating debate!

  38. Obama doesn’t give a rat’s ass about improving education. If we eliminated teacher tenure and public unions the quality of education would skyrocket.

    This Socialist-Marxist is ONLY interested in power and control.

    November 2nd is drawing near and it is the beginning of the end of the Socialist Democrats in Congress and the Marxist/s in the White House will get their notice in another two years.

  39. fwiw, there is probably no obamaco(tm) policy that liberals/progressives are more uniformly pissed off about than his education policy. and some of the most vociferous complaints come from teachers. spend some time at DU or any leftwing site and that becomes abundantly clear.

    whatever you think about obama’s education policy from a libertarian perspective, from a liberal perspective (overwhelmingly so from what i read) he is viewed as a complete traitor to teacher’s unions, teachers, and thus… children.

    i just find it funny the difference in perception. to liberals, he is the union busting, rahm enabling enemy of teachers and public education who is trying to privatize education and kill public schools.

    and to people here he’s the exact opposite.

    1. Are they really that delusional? I know you are just reporting on what you’ve read at other sites, but what rhetoric, much less policies has Obama proffered that could possibly be construed as “union busting, rahm enabling enemy of teachers and public education who is trying to privatize education and kill public schools?”

      1. go to

        it’s funnier than the onion, and they are SERIOUS.

        1. Dude, I’d rather read the Necronomicon than subject my sanity to DU.

  40. Because his kids go to private school and teachers unions pay the DNC’s bills – how hard is that?

  41. If Obama is so Gung-Ho About Fixing Education, Why the Hell Won’t He do the Smallest Goddamn Thing to Change the Status Quo?

    Do you have any evidence at all that “changing the status quo” can actually improve kids’ education? The answer is: No, of course not, because if you had any evidence it would’ve been posted at some point. Talk about cliche mongering.

  42. Random example of education being shit in this country from my wife:

    One of her 9th grade algebra students is a refugee from Iraq, is 19, and speaks perfect English. But she is not allowed to get her algebra credit by examination because the high school my wife works out doesn’t have a guidance counselor, and your guidance counselor must oversee credit by examination.

  43. THE END OF AMERICA———Obama and his Chicago boys are still guffawing over how all the chumps in the media reported this one with a straight face. Hey, it’s a just another reason why running a gangster government is nothing but laughs for the Obama crew in the White House.




    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.

  44. Obama and his Chicago boys are still guffawing over how all the chumps in the media reported this one with a straight face. Hey, it’s a just another reason why running a gangster government is nothing but laughs for the Obama crew in the White House.
    TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT?..TO ALL THE COMMUNIST IN THE IG,FBI,CIA,AND U.S. Senators and the left wing media outlets?..Stop Obama’s Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security,Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.
    OBAMA goes about his business by speaking the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says that he comes “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Revelation 13:12 says, “and he spoke as a dragon….” Revelation 17 tells us that he was a false prophet, a prophet being one whose calling it is to speak and to teach. The armies of the world may have guns and tanks and bombs to bring people into submission; but the power of speech and ideas is a mighty power. In his initial attempts to destroy the cause of God Obama used a serpent to deceive the woman with crooked speech: “You will be like God.” Now he uses a “dragon” who speaks crafty, lying words. His speeches will be heard by millions who will hang on his persuasive rhetoric. The content as well as the form of his speech will attract. Like most false prophets, he will even be sincere and passionate. But he is a liar. He adds dashes of truth to the mix, so that his lie tastes like truth. He will use all the right catchwords, using the language of the church, even throwing in a Bible text or two. But he is the ultimate Liar, and will deceive many.
    OBAMA will use every tool available: school teachers, politicians, news broadcasters, artists, musicians, scientists and doctors, lawyers and businessmen. All will be pressed into the service of OBAMA to deceive men. But especially he will use those whose calling it is to persuade and to teach — men who claim to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    THE COMMANDER,,, REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE .. THE END OF AMERICA .If one asks what he should look for in the days to come, I say this: there will be political union all nations will be gathered together into one mighty empire. This is the first of obama. There will also be religious union, joining all the religions and religious empires of the world. The powerful ecumenical movement of today, led by the religions of Christianity, will in the end fully succeed, swallowing up all the other religions of the world. You may expect to see one man over it all. obama. The Commander

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