Political Finger-Pointing

Of what Obama said about education in his SOTU speech, and his comparing our results to South Korea’s:

No matter that according to OECD data, South Korean kids are the unhappiest in the world, and according to many studies, have high suicide rates.  US parents should be just as demanding more of their kids, even if their happiness and mental health be damned.

I’ve written before about Duncan’s misplaced envy of the South Korea, where 20% of the average family’s disposable income is spent on private tutoring, and even the Prime Minster has warned us against emulating their educational system. Many Korean families in fact move to the United States in order to  save their children from the horrible pressures of their system.  But now Duncan and the President appear to have taken this fixation even further.

Graciously, Obama started his State of the Union praising teachers: “today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest levels in more than three decades.”  But then he went on to say:

Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with the skills for the new economy — problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, math.  Now, some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think…”

Good he and Arne have changed their line – at least temporarily – by saying that teachers need more support.  But now they are accusing parents of not having high enough expectations.  Can’t we get over this blame game?  Or am I being too sensitive?

6 thoughts on “Critique

  1. Immigration and education are pure political issues. Neither the Republicans or the Democrats have any intention of ever solving either of these problems. Why? Because like the Zionists in Israel who use the war with the Palestinians to stay in power, the Republicans and Democrats remain in power by manipulating the voters on these two issues decade after decade. Our politicians are masters of illusion.

  2. But, Susie! If you stopped blaming somebody it would become obvious that you don’t get excellence without money. We can’t spend money! Amirite?

  3. I would prefer a sense of wonder which inspires a desire for learning that lasts a lifetime. As noted by Rachel Carson (within wikiquotes):

    A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
    The Sense of Wonder (1965)

    I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused — a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love — then we wish for knowledge about the subject of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate…”
    The Sense of Wonder (1965)

  4. It’s always the fault of ‘the little people.’ They don’t have the right skills, they don’t have the courage, they don’t have the determination. If we’d just emulate the slave like attitude of South Korea or the work ethic of the Chinese, out lives would be just like theirs, which is obviously better. You notice they never compare to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the ones who are always the top of the education list. I have had it to the hilt with placing blame on victims and now the ‘transformational’ (insert ironic cought) President piles on.

  5. Semi on-topic:
    In the photo that accompanies this entry, I notice that The Esteemed Speaker John Boehner definitely has a darker skin color than Prez Obama. I wonder if he was born in Kenya, or maybe even south Kenya, to an African father.

  6. Finland has NO testing or grades, and they rank among the top-educated students in the world. But they’re Evil Yurp-EE-ans, don’tcha know? America’s people are drowning in its own wealth as its elites change the course of entire river systems, emptying them all into the One Percent’s private reservoirs. We are fucking DOOMED, friends.

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