Monday, July 14, 2008

An Obamite On Public Education

Repub orthodoxy aims to weaken the public school system through "choice," vouchers, or charter schools (which some Democrats have fallen for). Senator Obama has spoken favorably in the past of (euphemism alert) "merit pay" for public school teachers, a means of rewarding instructors in favor with management and of setting some teachers against others. Nonetheless, surrogate Claire McCaskill spoke clearly and sensibly about education on yesterday's Meet The Press (page 3 of transcript):

What we have done with No Child Left Behind is squeeze the creativity out of the classroom because teachers have begun to just teaching to the test.... We are who we are as a nation because we figured out how to educate our kids with public money, public education. The rest of the world has admired us from the days that we became a country, and we cannot turn our back on public education. And sometimes the word choice is code for making sure that we can skim the cream off the top into private schools and leave public schools flailing and, and in desperate need of help. And so we've got to make sure that our commitment is to our public education system.

I'm not advocating McCaskill's selection as running mate, inasmuch as a voting record only vaguely progressive would make her a dreadful choice. However, it's encouraging to hear someone- especially an individual as close to the candidate- speak out forcefully on the importance of public education.

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