Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

Tweet the President on class size

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

This week PURE and some other parent groups released a press statement thanking President Obama for recognizing the importance of class size in his weekly address, and for releasing a report that shows how the elimination of 60,000 teaching positions since 2009 is not only unprecedented in US postwar history, but has led to class size increases that are severely damaging the quality of our public schools.

Our press release pointed out that the Obama administration has proposed an education budget that would cut $650M from federal class size reduction funds, and that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has also told right wing groups over the last few years that he thinks that schools should respond to budget cuts with “smartly targeted increases in class size.”

PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson, founder of the NYC parent advocacy group Class Size Matters, reports that last night, the President made another speech about the importance of smaller classes in Nevada, and he tweeted the following message:

Use the hashtag #ClassSizeMatters to share why you think our kids need more teachers in the classroom.

Hmmm. Almost sounds like a personal invitation!

Leonie reports that there have been hundreds of tweets in response to the President’s message. She asks:

I hope that all you who are already on twitter might take a few seconds to send out a message about why you think #ClassSizeMatters and copy the president at @BarackObama and me at @leoniehaimson

For more ideas, please read PAA’s fact sheet, “Why Class Size Matters.” 

Education top tweet topic during SOTU

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

It’s no secret that the education advocacy community is not happy with the direction of President Obama’s education policies, though he seems oblivious himself to the depth and strength of anger he and his corporate reform front man, Arne Duncan, have inspired (for more on the President’s seeming lack of awareness, read this great post by Diane Ravitch.)

I tweeted during the State of the Union address, and saw that many of my PAA and other school reform friends were busy, too. Turns out we were an army that night. Despite the briefness of President Obama’s remarks on education, there were more education-related tweets than tweets on any other topic.

Here’s a report from Broadband:

While President Obama was giving his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, Americans were weighing in online. According to micro-blogging site Twitter, 766,681 Tweets referenced the State of the Union (#SOTU) between 9:05pm and 10:40pm Eastern Time. Additionally, 548 Tweets were posted by Members of Congress from both parties and both chambers.

Coinciding with the President’s message, the issues receiving the most Tweets Tuesday evening were education (35,972 tweets), energy (27,215) and jobs (22,502). Tweets related to innovation peaked half way through the State of the Union when the President mentioned Steve Jobs, receiving approximately 13,956 Tweets per minute from listeners. This volume was topped only by the President’s joke referencing EPA regulations and “spilled milk”, which received 14,131 Tweets per minute.

More State of The Union Twitter coverage can be viewed here.

Maybe it’s time for the President to start paying more attention?

Our children: cannon fodder for Obama’s war to win the future?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

I don’t actually think the term “Sputnik moment” accurately describes the vision for education that President Obama shared with us in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

Yes, there were clear overtones of the space race era, a time when America feared that our nation would be overtaken, perhaps quite literally, by a Soviet Union stronger than we were in science and technology. But there’s something more going on in the President’s challenge. Listen carefully to what he said.

“The future is ours to win.”

“If we want to win the future -– if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas -– then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

“Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future.”

“Survivor” moment

No, I think this goes beyond Sputnik. It goes to an even deeper, more paranoid vision of world as US vs them. It’s more of a “Survivor” moment: “Out-innovate, out-educate, out-build.” The rest of the world’s only reason for existing, as the President describes it, is to be in competition with the US for dominance, jobs, prosperity and even having a future.

It gets worse.

The President wants our children to be the foot soldiers in his war against the rest of the world.

He doesn’t talk about wanting to educating children for their own sakes, so that they can build their own future with a strong foundation of knowledge and skill. Instead he talks about his desire to “out-educate” the rest of the world.

We’ll show them. We’ll “Tiger Mom” those kids so that they have higher test scores than any other students anywhere in the world. And then we win.

It’s the competition, stupid

The administration’s movement to replace education with competition has been coming on for a while now.

Last year at about this time, Education Secretary Arne Duncan tried to channel Dr. Martin Luther King with this statement: “If Dr. King were here today, he would call on a new generation of leaders to build upon his work by doing the most important thing each of you can do: get an education, learn to think, learn to compete, and learn to win.”
Of course, Dr. King would never have said any such thing.

Race to the Top is just the most expansive and expensive version of this move to replace education with competition. That’s why it just doesn’t matter to President Obama and Secretary Duncan that the strategies demanded by RTTT don’t work. It only matters that they promote competition.

Ultimately, it’s part and parcel of the Enron mind set — nothing is really worthwhile to them unless it creates more wealth for the already wealthy.

It follows, then, that the best way to fight back, to turn the debate away from competition and back to education, to give our children a fighting chance to get a real education rather than becoming cannon fodder in Obama’s war for the future, is to go after the wealth-mongers who are behind corporate school reform. And I’ve already told you how to do that.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.