Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When it comes to education, Obama has no mandate

Obama won but if you listen closely to the right, you'll hear them chanting, "no mandate, no mandate, no mandate." Many conservatives are saying that Obama's slim victory does not provide him with a mandate.

“I think the real story here is that Obama won but he’s got no mandate,” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News last night.

When it comes to education, Krauthammer and other conservatives (even Fox News) are entirely correct ( but likely for all the wrong reasons). Progressive educators across America (and around the world) supported Obama because when it came to education policy, Obama was the lesser of the two evils.

Don't confuse teacher support for Obama and their relief that Romney lost as a mandate to carry on with corporate reforms and standardized testing that undermines public education and teachers.

Like others, I'm glad Romney lost, but that doesn't even begin to explain whether I am happy that Obama won. These are two distinctly different feelings.

Alfie Kohn's tweet the day after Obama's win says it all:
Mitt Romney could have been trusted to carry on and intensify Obama's current education policies, but only Obama can be trusted to be courageous enough to rethink his first term of cancerous education policies. Defeating Romney was necessary but Obama's victory will not be sufficient in saving and supporting public education.

It is said that Franklin D. Roosevelt once met with a group of activists who sought his support for legislation. He listened to their arguments for some time and then said, "You've convinced me. Now go out and make me do it." The spirit of Roosevelt's advice is likely what inspired Robert Reich to say, "Nothing good happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington become mobilized, organized, and energized to make it happen."

What are you doing to make Obama rethink his education policies?


  1. Yes, Joe and notice how education never appeared as a discussion either on MSNBC or FOX not to mention the candidates. Why? Financialization and Wall Street, this is why. The whole gaggle of loco philanthropirates use their largess to leverage public funds for private profit. On this both democrats and republicans agree. but it was also distressing to see no mention of the anorexic bulimic learning and testing regime and financialization by the Greens.

    The problem is many people do not understand the connection to Wall St. the commodification of education and financialization.

    In my judgment, this is due to the concetration by liberals on standards and testing but not connecting the dots to Wall St. and financialization. This and the K-12 false bifurcation from the higher education when the ruling class understands that the whole enchilada is what they want.

    Education is a six undred billion dollar industry now and unless Race to the Top and charters are euthanized, you will see more privatization.

    Capitalism needs a place to accumlate profits and education along with the new 'virtual health care racket' provide such a place. To our detriment, of course.

  2. I like Obama on many issues, but I think he's got it wrong on education. I consider the most important factor in teaching children is the relationship that exists between the adult and the child. The parent-child relationship is a component of education. The teacher-student relationship is a component of education. Anything that weakens that relationship weakens education, and that includes standardized testing, excessive teacher evaluations (at least evaluations not made directly by the principal), and homework. Teachers need to stay focused on kids in the class. Parents need freedom to raise their children, at home, without mandates (i.e. excessive homework) coming from the school.

  3. As far as I was concerned, education was the loser no matter who won. Privatization and "choice" are not the answer (look at what that has done to Chicago), but neither is our current direction with standardization and high-stakes tests. There was no hope in either direction.

  4. I always find it add that we compare the Canadian system of Education to the American, as if the US system were better. There is some spill over influence, but it's mostly shushed down when the numbers from OECD numbers come out.

    Canada's system rocks, the US system doesn't.


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