George H.W. Obama’s education platform: Republicans should be flattered and Democrats ashamed?

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Mr. President, welcome to Austin! I was looking over your “Forward” education platform and I thought I would share it with the readers of Cloaking Inequity. I think they will be super excited about your progressive stances on education.

The Democrat’s strategy is based on sound principle. Parents have the right to choose the best school for their children…we should increase flexibility from federal regulation. We should explore a new generation of break-the-mold New American Schools.

Unions

Too many government and union rules have burdened our schools.

We also believe that powerful unions and special interest groups should not be the driving force in education reform.

Alternative Certification

Alternative certification can bring desperately needed new people into the teaching profession.

We support efforts to open the teaching profession by reforming the certification system now barring many talented men and women from the classroom.

School Choice

We have an uncompromising commitment to improve public education—which means assuring that our schools produce well-educated, responsible citizens—not the maintenance of a government monopoly over the means of educating.

America needs public, private, and parochial schools.

Parents… should have the right not only to participate in their child’s education, but to choose for their children among the broadest array of educational choices, without regard to their income.

The President has shown unprecedented leadership for the most important education goal of all: helping middle and low income families enjoy the same choice of schools—public, private, or religious—that families with more resources already have.

Accountability, Assessments, and Standards

Standards and assessments should be raised, not reduced to a lowest common denominator.

We have seen real progress. Perhaps most important, though, is that President Obama has fostered a national debate on education that has challenged every American to get involved… New and tougher standards and assessments are being established for what our children should know.

The critical public mission in education is to set tough, clear standards of achievement and ensure that those who educate our children are accountable for meeting them. This is not just a matter of plans or dollars.

Competency testing and merit pay for teachers are essential elements of such accountability.

I recently had a discussion with several faculty members about suspected plagiarism in their courses. They were very concerned with term papers that were bought online and that ideas were not attributed to their original authors. That’s when it dawned on me; we are facing the same issue in the current educational policy environment.

The Democrats’ current approach to educational policy is a sure case of plagiarism. What you just read was not the Democrats or Obama’s platform. What you see above are all direct excerpts George Bush’s 1992 Republican platform (except of course where I replaced Republican with Democrat and Bush with Obama. I also took out the word liberal before special interest so not to give away the ruse).

Why has Obama not created “change” in education? Why has NCLB been left alone— even enhanced via “waivers”? I suspect because President Obama’s ideas (and Arne Duncan’s) are eerily similar to the Republican’s ideas of the 1990s. He should at least give them credit so they can’t be accused of plagiarism.

Really, Mr. President, you are quite retro when it comes to education policy, you know an antonym of “Change.”

So, I have a feeling I know why I am not invited to your Austin event trumpeting education this week.

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Categories: Accountability, High-Stakes Testing, Standards, Teacher Quality

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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11 Comments on “George H.W. Obama’s education platform: Republicans should be flattered and Democrats ashamed?”

  1. Monty J. Thornburg
    May 8, 2013 at 2:47 am #

    Dear Dr. Vasquez Heileg: The fact that you have not been invited to the Education Summit in Austin is not a surprise to me!

    The term “Hegemony” comes to mind and it’s far more than just a concept.

    1. Your counter narrative challenges the wealthiest, most powerful allies of President Obama on the planet: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
    2. Your counter narrative challenges the chosen leader of Education Policy in America, President Obama’s friend and ally Arne Duncan.
    3. Your counter narrative challenges the “Narrative” that you put on this Blog that I believe from President Obama’s political operative’s perspective makes your presence awkward at best, and perhaps your enemies have seen to it that your not on the invitee list. You’ll never know!
    4. Your positions on education make it impossible for the President to “triangulate” the political deals he wants and needs. He needs political help with from the Republicans and conservative Democrats with the economy, foreign policy, his national health care Obama Care, and with safety and gun control laws, to name some. He’s simply not going to fall on his sword over “Education” … with all the other issues he has to contend with. The retro “Narrative” you presented in his name is popular politically across the political spectrum from conservative to liberal.
    5. At the “Core” … I do believe that the “Common Core and Next Generation Assessments” are a push back from NCLB and that’s why, I think, Texas has stayed out of the “Common Core” game. Maybe that’s why this summit is in Texas?
    6. You were “micro-aggressed” by someone who knows where the “power” is, and it’s in field of philanthropy in education: Back to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

    Scott Ullman, I think, works for “The Foundation Center” in S.F. … They have published a strategic plan with six priorities on-line. See below.
    ……………………………………………
    The heart of the plan comes in the form of six strategic priorities:
    ♦ Connect nonprofits to the resources they need to thrive
    ♦ Empower donors with knowledge tools they need to be more strategic
    ♦ Build the global data platform for philanthropy
    ♦ Communicate philanthropy’s contribution to making a better world
    ♦ Encourage greater foundation transparency
    ♦ Ensure that our technology provides a strong foundation for the Center’s work
    If you believe, as we do, that philanthropy is an engine for positive social change, then please join us in our effort to nurture it.
    …………………………………..

    How can one argue against “philanthropy” ????

  2. May 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Apparently all one must do for ideas to be acceptable is tout that one is acting in the best interest of the under-served. Whether the actions being taken are valid or not is mute. After 25 years in education in VA, I constantly find myself standing on the parade route shouting, “but the Emperor has no clothes!” Thanks for shouting from Austin.

  3. Monty J. Thornburg
    May 9, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    Yes, thanks for shouting from Austin. I joined a group with a post in Education Leadership who are discussing the “Achievement GAP” -a timely topic and important in the context of the President’s visit. The issue being discussed is the “fact” that while 1 of 2 white students in Texas earn the “Distinguished Diploma” only 1 of 25 Black students do. This Achievement GAP by Bryan has created a lively discussion that includes racial issues, zero tolerance policy, “merit” and “accountability” etc. I posted the following without using your name, Dr. Vasquez H. To follow —->

    I learned about a new social-psychological concept, “Micro-aggression” the other day from an Associate Professor at the University of Texas. He was accused of being an “intellectually unrigorous pseudo-scholar” because he suggested that there’s a problem, a new “Merit Aparthide” or “segregation” going on in society that has been identified through research.
    Now in this professor’s case, he has “achieved” (i.e., he has demonstrated ‘merit’) through his rigorous study and hard work over many years, by “earning” an Associate Professorship with tenure. That is he’s published in peer reviewed journals and books, demonstrated excellent teaching at the university level, and demonstrated excellent community service from his “discipline of study” over many years.
    I happen to agree with him that while “merit” & “accountability” are and have always been paramount in American society, I also agree with him that NCLB and “testing” in Texas (Bryan) and elsewhere, are now being used to unjustly target particular groups unfairly: i.e., the achievement GAP and with rural kids (Michael) and with Black kids, especially boys (Byyan, Cloyd, Larry O, Anika, MDonnel, Michael). And, although “merit” and “accountability” are important in America (Jerry), -“merit” & “accountability” is only one lens from which to look at the problems we are trying to solve in education.
    The public put down called out this professor as being an “intellectually unrigorous pseudo-scholar” was a “micro-aggression” aimed at him regardless of his accomplishments. Perhaps it was because he looks young for being an Associate Professor? Or, perhaps because his views are unpopular with the Gov. of Texas whose personal hunting ranch has the “N” Word with Head attached on a sign at the gate of his hunting ranch, thus perhaps because he’s Latino/African American? Who knows, right?
    Micro-aggression is the idea that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as mostly non-physical aggression coined by Chester M. Pierce in 1970. Micro-inequities and micro-affirmations were additionally named by Dr. Mary Rowe of MIT in 1973 in her work she also describes micro-aggressions inclusive of sex and gender. Sue et al. (2007) describe micro-aggressions as, “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”
    Micro-aggression usually involves demeaning implications and other subtle insults against minorities, and may be perpetrated against those due to gender, sexual orientation, and ability status. According to Pierce, “the chief vehicle for pro-racist behaviors are micro-aggressions. These are subtle, stunning, often automatic, and nonverbal exchanges which are ‘put-downs’ of blacks (and others) by offenders.”

  4. John Young
    May 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Reblogged this on Transparent Christina.

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