Obama’s education policy

09.27.10

Barack Obama called for longer school years and getting rid of poorly performing teachers, in a speech about education that had me wondering where I’d heard that before.

Oh yeah. Here.

Let’s compare the two. Here’s Obama:

“That month makes a difference,” the president said. “It means that kids are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer. It’s especially severe for poorer kids who may not see as many books in the house during the summers, aren’t getting as many educational opportunities.”

[ . . . ]

“We have got to identify teachers who are doing well. Teachers who are not doing well, we have got to give them the support and the training to do well. And if some teachers aren’t doing a good job, they’ve got to go,” Obama said.

And here’s his fictional model, Congressman Matthew Santos, played by Jimmy Smits on the West Wing, circa 2005:

“America is 49th in the world in literacy. That’s down 18 spots in the last four years. Why? Well, for starters, the 180-day school year, that’s based on the agrarian calendar. But we’re in a global economy now. Japan’s at 243 days; Germany’s at 240. ”

[ . . . ]

“… which is why we need to end teacher tenure and get rid of failing teachers.”

Life imitating art? In the case of Santos/Obama, it’s certainly not the first time.

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