The State of [education in] the Union

Last night, President Obama, just like W before him, stood in front of the nation and reaffirmed to educators across the country that we are screwed – still.

Let’s take a look at what he said – as little as it was – about education.

Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test.

Hmm. That last sentence. Something doesn’t seem right. I’m pretty sure Race to the Top uses copious amounts of testing. And hilariously enough, those tests don’t measure how well our students think. In fact they don’t measure anything at all. Common Core has stripped all the thinking and discovery from the classroom. No, these tests very much ‘measure’ how well student can fill in a bubble. CCSS and RTTT aren’t more challenging curriculums, they are a set misguided objectives.

But it’s worth it – and it’s working.

Oh, you must mean in a parallel dimension where RTTT didn’t fail, and didn’t hand out vouchers giving states a pass for not meeting the expected requirements for the absurdly testing-heavy program. Did thousands of parents opt their students out of the tests in that parallel dimension where RTTT succeeded? Because that happened here, in reality.

The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.

You’re reaching plenty of kids – it’s just that the programs the government has implemented have succeeded in widening the achievement gap between rich white kids in gated communities, and the impoverished. Oh, and all those high-achieving rich white kids are cozy in schools laden with technology and nifty amenities, while inner city schools and lower-performing areas still have their funding cut.

Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education. Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can’t wait.

‘High quality Pre-K’…let’s hope he actually means high quality, and not high stakes. Because of RTTT, Kindergarten students are being tested and evaluated now. I’m sorry but there are fundamental development issues here. This is the age where discovery learning is how kids function. Testing them is just plain wrong.

So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we’ll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children.

Uh oh. Partnerships with states? You mean politicians and businessmen getting together and shaking hands with other politicians and businessmen and wondering how much money they can make off public education?

And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high quality pre-K they need.

So, still no educators then. Gotcha. Nice. Thanks.

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One thought on “The State of [education in] the Union

  1. Not only does RTTT screw the kids, its screws the people in the trenches; the teachers. Add in common core, and you have a recipe for disaster. Not only disaster, permanent status as a third world educational failure.

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