Obama's Education Power Grab

After his power grab of the health care system, Obama has put his sights on a progressive approach to public education reform. During his SOTU, he spoke about training a new generation of teachers. This of course would be done in the name of helping children while setting up a structure "to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math."

Perish the thought! The President is in the process of creating a top-down strategy to "prepare" (translated to mean indoctrinate) teachers to literally transform education as we know it, from an American system to a full-fledged corporatist regime where big business backs the socialist programs. No wonder Obama devoted 11 paragraphs in his SOTU to the topic of education.

Helping him to implement these goals are co-conspirators Michelle Rhee, former DC schools chancellor and founder of StudentsFirst.org, and Anita Dunn, former WH communications director. Rhee recently launched StudentsFirst with a goal of raising $1 billion to overhaul the way public schools recruit teachers. She hired Anita Dunn to do her PR.

From NYT:

During contract talks earlier this year, Ms. Rhee turned to Anita Dunn, the former communications director for President Obama, to help with her image...Now it is Ms. Dunn's firm, SKD Knickerbocker, that is coordinating Ms. Rhee's rollout of her new group.

In case you forgot what kind of leftist Anita Dunn is, here's a reminder from Real Clear Politics November 2009:

You cannot have a White House Communications Director advocating Mao as a role model for America's youth. Thus she is going, going, gone. I cannot wait for the next White House zany.

But White House zanies don't really disappear. They just take the nearest teaching job or start their own PR firms, and they definitely "keep in touch" with their old boss. Dunn may no longer be WH communications director, but she did an interview regarding the SOTU on CBS' "Washington Unplugged," on Tuesday, the day of the speech.

In his attempt to make school reform real to the 50 million television viewers, Obama painted the picture of an extremely troubled low performance school in Colorado.

Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado - located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97 percent of the seniors received their diploma.

Sounds great doesn't it? Well, it depends on which set of criteria you deem important. Of course, it's wonderful that kids who were once hopeless are now looking toward the future, but what's the tradeoff? The president didn't mention that the same school has a state program to pump the kids with contraceptives due to a high pregnancy rate there.

From NewsRealBlog:

Superintendent Boasberg wrote the state funded insurance provider, Denver Health, in support of the school's [Bruce Randolph MS] decision to pass out contraceptives to children.

Now Bruce Randolph has become the first Denver school to boast a state-funded birth-control clinic that services sixth-graders without having to notify the parents.

The administration's goals are to create a globally competitive education system, but it will be far more progressive than we have seen before. Oh, and you can forget morality and parental involvement; these only get in the way of "winning the future."

Read more Ann Kane at www.potterwilliamsreport.com

Thomas Lifson adds:

Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard points out that Randolph Middle School got an exemption from union rules, and fired most of its teachers.

What Obama failed to mention is how Bruce Randolph turned its situation around: firing teachers at will after being granted an exemption from union rules.

Here's what the ABC affiliate in Denver reports:

Bruce Randolph was a middle school when it opened in 2002. In 2007, Denver Public Schools gave Bruce Randolph School permission to operate autonomously. It was the first school in the state to be granted autonomy from district and union rules.

Each teacher then had to reapply for his or her job. A published report said only six teachers remained.

Praising a school that fired almost the entire faculty without input from the local union probably doesn't sit well with national teachers unions, who gave the Democrats nearly $5 million total in 2008

Like Michelle Rhee, Randolph MS did a few things dear to conservatives, but pursued a goal that is not conservative.
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