Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is not looking good.

Apart from a little election night giddiness during which I pretty much decided to suspend disbelief, I've always expressed some hesitation in wholeheartedly supporting Obama here on this blog. I've watched as he's made his cabinet picks many of whom are recycled Clintonistas if not actual Clintons. Change? I don't think so.

Some of the possible appointees being considered are baffling to me. My friend Liz has written about the proposed nominees for Secretary of Agriculture here and does a great job of explaining why the position is so important and how to speak up in support of people who could have a huge, positive impact on national food policy.

Today I read that Obama is considering Joel Klein as Secretary of Education. Klein's background is in law, not education. He's been neither a teacher nor an administrator.

As Greg Palast points out in his excellent post on this topic,
Klein is as qualified to run the Department of Education as Dick Cheney is to dance in Swan Lake.
He was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomboerg to run the NYC schools in the hopes that Kelin could rung the schools like a business. Half the kids in NYC have failed to graduate high school under his watch, test scores have flatlined (or worse since he's been accused of monkeying around with the numbers) , and he's wasted millions of dollars on consultants with no real positive outcome. Basically Klein has been a disaster for the New York City schools.

Didn't we vote for change? Why in the world is Obama considering for Secretary of Education a man who pretty much embodies everything that is wrong with Bush's education policies? All I can figure is he doesn't want to look like he's beholden to the teachers unions. Except, damn it, he is. Every teacher I know worked to get Obama elected because we wanted a change from the drudgery and failure that came with NCLB.

I am so angry about this as teacher, as a parent of a school aged child, and as a taxpayer. I am desperately hoping Obama will live up to his promise and appoint someone with a real record of success and a broad knowledge of education to this post and start to undo the damage the the Bush administration has done to our children. Jonathan Kozol, recipient of the 1988 Award.Image via Wikipedia

My suggestion? How about someone like Jonathan Kozol, a widely respected educator with decades of experience, in-depth knowledge, and a genuine heartfelt passion for teaching? That's the kind of change I want to see.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I agree with you. This is most definitely not looking good.
And it makes me wonder, if Obama does not feel beholden to the teachers, who does he feel beholden to?

NCLB was actually a Clinton policy, that was made even worse by the Bush administration, by the way. So I guess if we are getting Clintonistas, we should expect more of the same with NCLB. Sigh.

Magpie Ima said...

OK--you made me go and do a little research. NCLB was proposed by George W Bush immediately after taking office in 2001. Its predecessor was Goals 2000 signed into law in 1994. Both focus on outcomes based education, but Goals 2000 did not include many of the elements that make NCLB so controversial.