Yes, we can do charter schools


This should answer those questions about whether Obama’s a socialist.

Obama Outlines Plan for Education Overhaul

President Obama called for sweeping changes in American education on Tuesday, urging states to lift limits on charter schools and improve the quality of early childhood education while also signaling that he intends to make good on his campaign promise of linking teacher pay to performance…

The president said it was time to erase limits on the number of charter schools, which his administration calls “laboratories of innovation,” while closing those that are not working. He said 26 states and the District of Columbia now had caps….

Putting limits on charter schools, even in places where they are performing well, “isn’t good for our children, our economy or our country,” Mr. Obama said.

In his recent budget message, he said that he hoped to double financing for charter schools eventually, another campaign promise, and that the Department of Education would help create “new, high-quality charter schools” while supporting the closing of those guilty of “chronic underperformance.”

He called on states to impose tougher curriculum standards, and in an echo of language often used by President George W. Bush, he chided states that he said were “low-balling expectations for our kids.”

Saying he would “cultivate a new culture of accountability in America’s schools,” Mr. Obama said states and school districts should weed out bad teachers.

Charter schools? Merit pay? Closing bad schools? Tougher standards? What kind of wacko, right-wing, Bushoid propaganda is this? In certain parts of this country, you can’t so much as say the words “charter schools” without being hounded into oblivion. Only it’s Obama saying it, so it’s okay.

Are you listening, Ontario Conservatives? You have just been given permission to have another go at education reform. Only this time get it right.


Yes, we can do charter schools

  1. Somehow I don’t think that the Ontario PCs will be touching the charter schools issue for quite some time. It’s too easy for political opponents to misrepresent, particularly when religion is brought into the mix.

  2. I don’t remember anybody losing it on the Ontario Conservatives for wanting charter schools. Isn’t there a difference between private school vouchers and allowing some charter schools? Did the Ontario Liberals run attack ads about how teacher merit pay would destroy our children’s futures?

  3. God forbid teachers get paid for performance and economic value like everyone else on the planet. I do look forward to the teachers unions utterly incredible explanations regarding how rewarding teachers for good performance and punishing them for bad performance is somehow negative from the students’ perspective. That’s always fun.

    • it’s difficult to point out flaws in a plan which doesn’t actually exist. But there are any number of potential problems. Think along the lines of inappropriate metrics, or disincentive to work with underperforming students, for starters.

  4. What’s with this if-Obama-said-it-it’s-ok nonsense that rightwingers keep touting these days?

    • They are trying to point out a double standard. Many objections to policy proposals these days have more to do with objections to the politicians proposing them than with the merits of the policy itself.

      • But what I don’t understand is this unfounded belief that a proposal presented by Obama is more acceptable even if it runs counter to what people believe in.

        After all, Obama supports the death penalty. Is the right going to come back to the charge with that policy too, using Obama as a cover?

      • Actually I’m just being Machiavellian. Obama’s imprimatur gives charter school advocates important cover against the kind of ideological attacks and/or know-nothing moderatism that conspires to shut down any talk of education reform as beyond the pale, doctrinally or politically.

        • One can foresee some interesting debates ahead, as people hurl Obamaquotes at each other. He has managed to take a lot of contradictory positions in his quest to please everyone.

          • I think Obama has been reasonably consistent. The point is he’s been inaccurately heralded by many as an ideological lefty, when in fact many of his positions and policies are not (and have never been).

        • “Obama’s imprimatur gives charter school advocates important cover against the kind of ideological attacks and/or know-nothing moderatism that conspires to shut down any talk of education reform as beyond the pale, doctrinally or politically.”

          But Andrew, do you really believe that Obama provides them with a cover or are you just saying that for effect? I have to ask because I don’t get it. I’ll agree that such a commentary would land better coming from Obama than it would from Rush Limbaugh but I fail to see why anyone would think that the critics would be less vociferant.

        • These policies look like the very definition of what you get from “know-nothing moderatism”

  5. I’ll believe it when I see it. That spending bill the President signed this morning contained a trapdoor kill for funding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, a program which gives minority parents in Washington $7,500 they can use to send their kids to schools such as the one the Obamas send theirs to. Unless congress reauthorizes the program next year (they won’t, they have already told the D.C. public schools to prepare for the students to come back), the program ends. Actions speak louder, especially in Mr. Obama’s case.

  6. Whatever the merits or the demerits of the idea of charter schools, the issue ultimately is trust – and the in the Ontario Tories regarding education, there ain’t none.

  7. ….linking teacher pay to performance…

    What a novel idea.

    Some teachers even agree….at least in the U.S.

    The Truth about Teachers Unions

  8. Charter schools may seem great because they may not necessarily have unions. Charter schools can fire bad teachers; they can also fire good teachers who may be assertive.

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