Anyone Have a Clue What this Means?

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To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that’s never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. We’ll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future. (Barack Obama, 1/8/09)

Comments

13 Responses to “Anyone Have a Clue What this Means?”
  1. Darren Draper says:

    I just hope it doesn’t mean a bunch of empty promises.

  2. nashworld says:

    Yes. It means:

    “To give our children the chance to live out their dreams in a world that’s never been more competitive, we will equip tens of thousands of schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries. We’ll provide new computers, new technology, and new training for teachers so that students in Chicago and Boston can compete with kids in Beijing for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.”

    Beyond that, it gets a little fuzzy.
    *rubbing eyes*

  3. Brendan says:

    It means what you think it means. If it doesn’t then it is a bunch of empty promises.

    Seriously how much detail do you expect in a speech?

  4. Gary says:

    Where might I find details?

    Other than appointing an unqualified Secretary of Education and hints at union busting, what am I supposed to think about Obama’s education policy?

  5. thecompasspoint says:

    What we need is for schools to be “equipped” with creative and collaborative systems and structures. And with people and environments respectful of learning and learners.
    – Josie

  6. Ihor says:

    It’s the vision thing, Gary. You gotta give people hope that with the technology better days are ahead. And, of course, the devil is in the details. Arne Duncan may not be everything you want, but you have to look at it in perspective. What did we have before? Margaret Spellings?

    Who would you have preferred to Arne? Bill Ayers? Radical approaches always look good when you are hungry. But are we as a country that hungry? I don’t think so.

    -Ihor

  7. Gary says:

    C’mon Ihor,

    Please stop treating me like an idiotic 3rd grader. I wasn’t even addressing the Sect. Issue.

    Since you did, I’ll repeat that Arne Duncan is indistinguishable from Margaret Spellings. If there is any daylight between their policies, Obama should tell us.

    My list of plausible candidates for Secretary of Education include:
    Pedro Noguera
    Deborah Meier
    Ted Sizer
    Dennis Littly
    Diane Ravitch
    Linda Darling-Hammond
    Newt Gingrich
    Me

    Gary

    Ps: Bill Ayers is much better qualified than Duncan

  8. a bea c says:

    I am curious. What makes, in Dr. Stager’s view, one candidate more qualified than another? Is it adhering to a particular philosophy or theory, having experience as an administrator, having written extensively about educational reform without having actually achieved much of a reform?

    I’m not being snarky. I am really asking based on what I know about the candidates on that list. I particularly question having Gingrich on that list, based on what I perceive are his views regarding minorities.

  9. Gary says:

    I addressed my views on Arne Duncan in a quite detailed fashion here in my article, Obama Practices Social Promotion. Please take a look at my litany of objections.

    It would be nice if just once, an American President nominated an educator to lead the nation’s schools. Are none qualified?

    Instead we have suffered under a parade of ideologues, cronies and uninspiring ex-Governors.

    I would like a Secretary of Education who understands, in the words of Seymour Sarason, how to create “productive contexts for learning.”

    It is quite clear that Duncan did little to improve the quality of education for Chicago children while superintendent there, a job he too was profoundly unqualified for. He has not demonstrated any knowledge of learning theory or even inspired leadership. Perhaps he could have taken a few education courses while Superintendent rather than just move kids around and build military schools.

    The inclusion of Speaker Gingrich on my list of plausible candidates was a nod to the “bipartisan team-of-rivals” approach to governance that makes everyone go ga-ga these days. Also, Gingrich is AGAINST No Child Left Behind and the Federal Government micromanaging classrooms. He is an academic with a doctorate in history, an effective communicator and someone who has expressed a variety of interesting ideas about improving education, including a laptop for every kid back in 1995. That said, he is a creep and holds some views I find distasteful. He is a partisan, not an ideologue. That works for me.

    As I said above, I fear that Arne Duncan represents a 3rd term of the Bush presidency for our nation’s public school teachers and students.

    How did I do on the rest of my list?

  10. a bea c says:

    Pedro Noguera: Yes, he’s obviously smart and has an impressive list of publications. But his focus seems to be, in my opinion, race relations rather than quality of instruction and effective assessment.

    Deborah Meier: I have great respect for her work and her writing, but she’s 78. I argued during the last year about McCain’s age. She is even older. Not that old people aren’t any good, but they may not have the energy to see the job through.

    Ted Sizer: Not sure I see him as wanting to fix all schools. He is too much of a charter/magnet school guy for me. I am not a believer in No Child Left Behind, but it is because of the excessive testing, not because of the name. I would hate to see the “not magnet school material” kids shoved into warehouses and taught nothing. He fits into a nice little niche with Dennis Littky, no?

    Dennis Littky: Go read the mission statement at his company’s website, http://www.bigpicture.org/about-us/ and tell me if that makes any more sense than the Obama quote you posted originally. I don’t buy the tiny school idea, either.

    I don’t know that much about Diane Ravitch, but what I have read online today sounds good. She’s not getting any younger, though, and as I already said, I think we need someone who can put up a good fight.

    Linda Darling-Hammond has been involved in the Obama educational policy team for a while
    (http://change.gov/learn/policy_working_groups) Hopefully she’ll stay involved. If Duncan doesn’t work out, she may step in to fill his shoes. I’d love that.

    Back to Gingrich. Yes, he has a degree in history, and wrote some interesting “alternate history” novels. As far as 1:1 laptops go, if teachers today, with the prevalence of laptops, are rarely qualified to teach in that environment, imagine what would have happened thirteen years ago. Also, I would not be inclined to hire someone who used a college course to indoctrinate his students in his political views and funded it in ways that violated the law. Not a good role model. I’m sure if we dig deep, very deep, we may be able to find a suitable Republican…

    You are the last one on the list. I would hesitate to make you Secretary simply because you are so negative. All that sarcasm and negativity are funny to me, but that is no way to build consensus and move forward (or backward) to achieve anything.

    So this leaves us with Arne Duncan. You have pointed out all the negatives. To paraphrase Seth Godin, past performance is not a good indicator of future performance. Let’s wait and see. He may do better when surrounded by better people.

    Of course, I say all this as a teacher with no administrative experience or aspirations. Anyone is welcome to disagree.

  11. Jennifer says:

    When he says “Chicago and Boston” I guess the rest of our students won’t get those opportunities??

    Hmmm, why did he say just those two cities??

    Jen

  12. a bea c says:

    Yes, Jen, I see what you say. Obama should have given a shout out to every single city in this country. That alone would ensure that all students receive a better education and know exactly who they are up against, not to mention that it would make for a brilliant speech.

  13. tellio says:

    Sounds to me like Obama has been reading too much Thomas Friedman and not enought Joseph Stiglitz. I see a tried and tired reference to the ideal of school as industrial training ground. I hear no mention of rural places. Basically, this is just more rearranging the Herman Miller chairs at Lehman Brothers. Change we can believe in will have to be a lot more systemic than this soundbite promises.