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Morning Shots

Viva Viagra! Rambo’s in Town!

headbandAll stimulus—all the time. There is nothing like a raucous action film filled with exploding cars and high-powered weaponry to distract you from your troubles and take your mind off your real obligations back home. Like it or not, this is the net effect of the Stimulus package now furiously hurdling through Congress like some action hero implausibly decimating everything in his way while the world around watches in awe—numb, but invigorated by the spectacle—waiting to be rescued.

Has Obama gone Rambo? Or has Washington become a Hollywood set—a gleaming fasçade, supported by nothing, but intentionally built to allow our superhero to shine?

For those in need of a tonic from so much stimulus—still reeling from the whiplash of the high-speed chase with stolen dollars flying everywhere—read Michael Gerson’s magisterial treatment of how real education reform signaled by the Obama campaign has already been abandoned in exchange for Obama’s empty pragmatism.

No purple pill or action hero bravado for him. Gerson is a real man, a man of principle, who reminds us what is required to effect fundamental reform. Among the remedies are test-based accountability and merit pay to drive improved teacher quality—not payola stolen from children yet born to buy off one’s political supporters.

Gerson writes, “It is still early in the Obama era. But it is already evident that pragmatism without a guiding vision or a fighting faith can become little more than the service of insistent political interests.” It is precisely for this reason that Mandate for Change was recently sent to every state and federal legislator in the land.

Got Mandate?

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James, age 9

cartman_jamesSeemingly always the last question asked in the political arena, President Obama was queried by 9-year-old James earlier during his Elkhart, IN town hall meeting.

James asked how the President planned to help our schools.

His laundry list of solutions:

– Rebuild schools to be state-of-the-art
– Train new teachers (and re-train existing ones)
– Reform how we do business
– High standards
– Better assessment
– NCLB needs to be re-worked in a more effective way

And last, he said, was to engage parents, noting that all the money in the world wouldn’t help education in this country until parents step up to the plate.

Greening our schools, building new facilities where none are needed and bailing out the teaching industry are supposed to lead to educational success?

How much do higher standards and student achievement cost?

How about focusing on what works:

– Federal accountability
– Transparency
– Charter schools
– School choice
– Teacher quality

Got Mandate?

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Fantasy Press Conference (Shameful Redux)

microphones(In light of the impending stimulus package making the rounds on Capitol Hill, the following is a riff on remarks made by President Barack Obama following a meeting with his education economic team. The original can be read in its entirety on the official White House blog.)

One point I want to make is that all of us are going to have responsibilities to get this economy education moving again. And when I saw an article today indicating that Wall Street bankers Congress had given themselves the education system $20 billion $100 billion worth of bonuses in new spendingthe same amount of bonuses as they gave themselves in 2004 effectively doubling federal funding of education — at a time when most of these institutions were are teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them, and when taxpayers find themselves in the difficult position that if they don’t provide help that where they don’t have any other choices for educating their children, the entire system could come down on top of our heads if the next generation – indeed, this generation – can’t compete in a global economy — that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.

And part of what we’re going to need is for folks on Wall Street in the education BLOB who are asking for help to show some restraint accountability and show some discipline transparency and

Read More …

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