Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This Scares Me; Obama on Education

Barack Obama gave a speech today in Ohio, on the subject of education. The word "homeschooling" doesn't appear in the speech, but I wouldn't expect it to; Democrats aren't all that friendly to the idea that any citizen anywhere can actually educate his or her own children without constant government oversight, mandates, and grants.

But some of what he did say is rather frightening to read, such as this:

We need -- we need a full-throated commitment to public education. And that's why, last November, I proposed an education agenda that moves beyond party and ideology, and focuses instead on what will make the most difference in a child's life.

My plan calls for giving every child a world-class education from the day they're born until the day they graduate from college. It's a plan that starts with investing in early childhood education -- (applause) -- because we know that children in these programs are more likely to score higher in reading and math, and because they start school prepared they are able to keep up. They don't fall behind. They are more likely to graduate high school and attend college. They're more likely to hold a job and earn more in that job. So that's a key component of the plan: closing the achievement gap by investing in early childhood education. It's also -- (applause) -- it's also a plan that will finally put a college degree within reach for anyone who wants one by providing a $4,000 -- (applause) -- tax credit to any middle-class student who's willing to serve their community or their country. We have to make sure that every young person can afford to go to a public college or a university if they've got the will, if they've got the grades. (Cheers, applause.)

Wait a minute. From the day they're born??? Good Lord, who does he think he is, anyway? And just what kind of governmental interference with at-birth education can we expect in Obama's America? Teachers with flashcards and Mozart CDs in the labor room? Tests in the nursery to see if the infant shows signs of indifference to NPR or C-Span?

I'm joking, of course, but what scares me is that Obama isn't. Expect an army of hospital-gestapo types to all but follow you home to make sure you are properly stimulating and "pre-educating" your newborn; it will come.

And the mention of that perennial favorite, early childhood education, should also send a shiver down a homeschooling mom's spine: do we really have to begin formal instruction of our children at the age of two? Isn't it better to let them play and explore, learning in an unstructured environment with plenty of free time, than to be forced to teach them on some kind of arbitrary schedule complete with educational objectives and tests?

Here's more:

Now, giving our parents real choices about where to send their kids to school also means showing the same kind of leadership at the national level that I did in Illinois, when I passed a law to double the number of public charter schools in Chicago. Keep in mind that John McCain will say he's arguing for choice by allowing money and students to drain out of the public schools. I believe in public schools. (Cheers, applause.) But I also believe in fostering competition within the public schools. And that's why, as president, I'll double the funding for responsible charter schools.

But I also know you've had a tough time with for-profit charter schools here in Ohio, and that is why I'll work with Governor Strickland to hold for-profit charter schools accountable, and I'll work with all our nation's governors to hold all our charter schools accountable. (Applause.) Charter schools that are successful will get the support they need to grow; charters that aren't will get shut down. (Cheers, applause.) I want experimentation, but I also want accountability. And we'll help ensure that more of our kids have access to quality after-school and summer school and extended school days for students who need it, because if they can do that in China, then we can do that right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

So, no vouchers with Obama; but he will make sure that kids are in school for longer and longer time periods. Ugh. I'm sorry, but anyone who makes China a model of how to take care of children is not someone I'd have much confidence in, frankly. We all know what this is: the day-care model of public education, where parents are pushed farther and farther away from the children who are raised by the nanny-state and conditioned to favor liberalism and big-government solutions to every problem. They may not end up learning any more, but unlike Sarah Palin, the left will approve of them, and see them as intelligent to the extent that they can regurgitate the left's favorite talking points.

And there's more:

Imagine a future where our children are more motivated because they aren't just learning on blackboards, but on new whiteboards with digital touch screens; where every student in a classroom has a laptop at their desk; where they don't just do book reports but design PowerPoint presentations -- (applause) -- where they don't just write papers, but they build websites; where research isn't done just by taking a book out of the library, but by e-mailing experts in the field; and where teachers are less a source of knowledge than a coach for how best to use it and -- and obtain knowledge. By fostering innovation, we can help make sure every school in America is a school of the future.

And that's what we're going to do when I'm president. We will help -- (cheers, applause) -- we will help schools integrate technology into their curriculum so we can make sure public school students are fluent in the digital language of the 21st century economy. We'll teach our students not only math and science, but teamwork and critical thinking and communication skills, because that's how we'll make sure they're prepared for today's workplace.

In other words, we'll ramp up the process of making sure your children will only be capable of becoming corporate wage slaves; we'll also teach them that the technology behind the book report is way more important than actually reading the book and understanding it well enough to discuss it intelligently. We can't have that in the classrooms of America; too many teachers would be embarrassed. And e-mailing experts solves the problem of children having too much access to books other than the Unlikely Melodramatic Teen High School Romance series books, which won't teach them anything they didn't already learn from the on-site Planned Parenthood liaison.

All of this, of course, makes me extremely glad we are able to homeschool; but again, as I said at the beginning, Obama doesn't mention homeschooling. Our freedom to continue to do so without governmental interference or oversight is much more at risk when the Democrats are in charge; they want to "improve" No Child Left Behind, by which I suspect they mean that they'd like to make it "No Child--or Parent--Left Alone To Teach."

UPDATE: Drudge links to this video; the McCain campaign on Obama and education. Worth a watch, I think.


Jeff Miller said...

What he means is a world class indoctrination to train people to expect to feed at the trough of government.

volpecircus said...

i just become more and more appalled at what he says. all this talk of education from birth in all of these "state run institutions" from the same camp that is criticizing palin time and again for "not staying home with her children." well heck, with obama's plan for education she won't need to be home. the poor kid will be gone from the time he is out of the womb 'til his college graduation.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a hypocrite, plain & simple. His daughters attend a posh private school. I'm glad he's speaking more off the cuff because he says a lot of stupid things and hopefully, more people will pick up on this.

freddy said...

*This* is great political humor on the part of Obama. Except that it isn't.

I mean, $4000? Really? Is that what state colleges cost in Illinois? Cause here in Ohio they're a bit more. Be about as much help as someone offering me $10 on my grocery bill. And of course we're not supposed to think about where the money's going to come from!

Oh, and did you hear that? That was the sound of millions of experts changing their e-mail addresses to an automated response system: "Read my book, stupid!"

I mean, seriously! Does the man even think, or just open his mouth and let the words kind of dribble out?

And come on, how out of touch can you be? Powerpoint presentations? Grade school kids all over the country have been turning them in as "homework" for years, much to the consternation of real teachers trying to drum into kids' heads the meaning of a paragraph. Powerpoint and web design are just the "snazzy clear plastic binders" of this generation.

Oh, yeah, that'll work!

Journey of Truth said...

I have really enjoyed reading your blog of late. I'm a new-comer here and lurking a bit. I would like to say that I find you in the line of common sense that G.K. Chesterton so oft spoke of.

God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Education and the attendant care in providing the best conditions for life begins before birth, which is why it is so very important for a mother to have chosen to give life. These women that have been raped, sodomized, or not given a choice in bringing the essence of their very being into this world do not have the choice in providing the positive, loving, and educational aspect of humanity. The end does not justify the means would be a quick and proverbial summation of the whole pro-choice movement. I chose to give meaningful life to my children. You may choose to do otherwise, but it's the essence of the US Constitution to have that choice. And, no I did not buy fancy dancy homeschooling pablum to feed along with the formula; the interaction went in with a college education, and time closely spent with both parents, and human breast-fed milk.

Castellanus said...

I posted a letter from the Bishops of England and Wales on education that was written in 1929 on the eve on an election there. While it is obviously quite a while ago the principles that they endorsed are still relevant today. I believe it is especially pertinent given that we are often told that it is okay to support a pro-abortion candidate because his other views are more consistent with Catholic teaching. From the position the Bishops took it is hard to reconcile the Catholic position with that of Sen. Obama.

Here are a couple of the points.
) It is no part of the normal function of the State to teach.

)Thus a teacher never is and never can be a civil servant, and should never regard himself or allow himself to be so regarded. Whatever authority he may possess to reach and control children, and to claim their respect and obedience, comes to him from God, through the parents, and not through the State, except in so far as the State is acting on behalf of the parents."

Here is the link http://tuitiofidei.blogspot.com/2008/01/gods-guardian-of-child.html

Tony said...

Can you say "Obama-Juden"?

I thought you could.