As Obama Fumbles Healthcare, Focus Shifts to Education Takeover

While Obama's principal election platform stressed his commitment to bipartisanship and budget balancing, his first year in office (and counting) has been eaten up by sharp divisions within Congress, among governors, and across the entire nation, mostly due to his radical health care reform proposals. Whether or not you attended a tea party, you may have noticed that Washington has grown even grouchier since President Obama entered office, which is why the President may be trying to push a warmer and fuzzier subject as his approval rating steadily drops.That subject is education.

The higher education industry -- like the health care industry -- is at best in a tumultuous cycle of reinvention, and at worst at a breaking point, thanks to state budget crises, broken banks and rising tuition costs. But Obama is currently preoccupied with running the schools in which younger kids are enrolled. It's his next greatest takeover: our elementary and middle schoolclassrooms.

In a February, 22, 2010, article in the New York Times, Peter Baker and Sam Dillon reported on the President's rejection of the No Child Left Behind Campaign in favor of a federal government-monitored system in which Obama dangles much-needed funding in front of governors as incentive to create better reading and math programs in their schools. Under George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind, states had to create new programs to improve academics, but they were allowed to organize those curricula themselves.

Obama wants to have a hand in what's being taught in classrooms in every state. Governors are trying to collaborate on establishing a set of "common standards in math and reading," report Baker and Dillon, that would collectively -- and theoretically -- raise performance among students around the nation. What's at stake for schools now is a total of $14 billion, which so far seems to be reserved for poor students and disadvantaged districts, and for which states must compete to receive by proving rising performance rates among students.

In fact, Obama seems wholly absorbed by the notion of competition, both by pitting states against each other and in engaging in a global race to the head of the class in reading and math, at least. In the previously cited New York Times article, Baker and Dillon note that

"[Obama] said the depth of the competition was brought home to him during a visit to South Korea last year, when he was told of that country's determination to educate its children to out-compete American children. "That's what we're up against," Mr. Obama said. "That's what's at stake -- nothing less than our primacy in the world. As I said at the State of the Union address, I do not accept a United States of America that's second-place."

Just off the heels of the Vancouver Olympics, it would be tough to argue that any American would be content to stand in the second-place spot, but how much should the country really sacrifice to show off another medal?

Obama argues that our country needs a strong foundation comprised of bright, motivated, American-blooded students to help build up our economy and make us more competitive globally. He's right. But -- barring a few social reforms that resulted in the generally approved federal government's interference with state education, including Brown vs. Board of Education -- since when is it okay for one person to dictate what's right or wrong in all of our schools? If the federal government is allowed to influence the new lesson plans, textbooks, and state testing standards that our kids supposedly need to compete with South Korea, the evolution vs. intelligent design vs. creationism debate would be revived, prayer in schools would probably be banned outright, and teachers, parents, principals and of course, the students, would have to deal with a whole new mess of bureaucratic disorganization any time they wanted an amendment or an exception. Just look at what's proposed for healthcare.

In the article, President Obama is quoted as reassuring governors,

"We've been tasked to not only see this country through difficult times, but to keep the dream of our founding alive for the next generation...That's not something to shy away from. It's something to live up to. And I intend to work closely with all of you -- Democrats and Republicans -- to do just that."

We need to be vigilant in order to ensure that our children aren't being used as an excuse to dupe us -- and our governors -- into believing that another government takeover is the answer to a fledgling economy and a suffering education system. In a bona fide competition, both parties need to stand their ground.

Alvina Lopez writes on the topics of accredited colleges online.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez@gmail.com.
While Obama's principal election platform stressed his commitment to bipartisanship and budget balancing, his first year in office (and counting) has been eaten up by sharp divisions within Congress, among governors, and across the entire nation, mostly due to his radical health care reform proposals. Whether or not you attended a tea party, you may have noticed that Washington has grown even grouchier since President Obama entered office, which is why the President may be trying to push a warmer and fuzzier subject as his approval rating steadily drops.That subject is education.

The higher education industry -- like the health care industry -- is at best in a tumultuous cycle of reinvention, and at worst at a breaking point, thanks to state budget crises, broken banks and rising tuition costs. But Obama is currently preoccupied with running the schools in which younger kids are enrolled. It's his next greatest takeover: our elementary and middle schoolclassrooms.

In a February, 22, 2010, article in the New York Times, Peter Baker and Sam Dillon reported on the President's rejection of the No Child Left Behind Campaign in favor of a federal government-monitored system in which Obama dangles much-needed funding in front of governors as incentive to create better reading and math programs in their schools. Under George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind, states had to create new programs to improve academics, but they were allowed to organize those curricula themselves.

Obama wants to have a hand in what's being taught in classrooms in every state. Governors are trying to collaborate on establishing a set of "common standards in math and reading," report Baker and Dillon, that would collectively -- and theoretically -- raise performance among students around the nation. What's at stake for schools now is a total of $14 billion, which so far seems to be reserved for poor students and disadvantaged districts, and for which states must compete to receive by proving rising performance rates among students.

In fact, Obama seems wholly absorbed by the notion of competition, both by pitting states against each other and in engaging in a global race to the head of the class in reading and math, at least. In the previously cited New York Times article, Baker and Dillon note that

"[Obama] said the depth of the competition was brought home to him during a visit to South Korea last year, when he was told of that country's determination to educate its children to out-compete American children. "That's what we're up against," Mr. Obama said. "That's what's at stake -- nothing less than our primacy in the world. As I said at the State of the Union address, I do not accept a United States of America that's second-place."

Just off the heels of the Vancouver Olympics, it would be tough to argue that any American would be content to stand in the second-place spot, but how much should the country really sacrifice to show off another medal?

Obama argues that our country needs a strong foundation comprised of bright, motivated, American-blooded students to help build up our economy and make us more competitive globally. He's right. But -- barring a few social reforms that resulted in the generally approved federal government's interference with state education, including Brown vs. Board of Education -- since when is it okay for one person to dictate what's right or wrong in all of our schools? If the federal government is allowed to influence the new lesson plans, textbooks, and state testing standards that our kids supposedly need to compete with South Korea, the evolution vs. intelligent design vs. creationism debate would be revived, prayer in schools would probably be banned outright, and teachers, parents, principals and of course, the students, would have to deal with a whole new mess of bureaucratic disorganization any time they wanted an amendment or an exception. Just look at what's proposed for healthcare.

In the article, President Obama is quoted as reassuring governors,

"We've been tasked to not only see this country through difficult times, but to keep the dream of our founding alive for the next generation...That's not something to shy away from. It's something to live up to. And I intend to work closely with all of you -- Democrats and Republicans -- to do just that."

We need to be vigilant in order to ensure that our children aren't being used as an excuse to dupe us -- and our governors -- into believing that another government takeover is the answer to a fledgling economy and a suffering education system. In a bona fide competition, both parties need to stand their ground.

Alvina Lopez writes on the topics of accredited colleges online.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez@gmail.com.

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