Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ticking off the teachers.

Today, the President announced his plans for reforming education.

And it reminded me of this time back in 2004 where I utterly and completely failed at picking up a girl at Dewey Beach.

Yeah, I know -- stick with me here.

For the uninitiated, Dewey Beach is an oasis for the denizens of DC. The small beach community located 30 minutes from Ocean City in Delaware is where 20/30/40 somethings go every weekend throughout the summer to engage in ridiculousness and forgo any and all sheds of responsibility via egregious drinking and loose morals.

On this particular afternoon at Dewey, I was drinking with a group of friends at a bar called the Starboard. It was packed and I ended up chatting with a particularly attractive & petite brunette. Things were going great and we were making plans to head to the Rusty Rudder that night to go see the Kristen & The Noise show -- until she asked me what I did for a living....

"Well, like a lot of people here -- I'm in politics," I said.

"Oh yeah? Doing what?," she replied with feigned interest.

"Congressional Affairs for the Department of Education", I mumbled, knowing how boring that sounds.

Her response? Silence.

"Soooooo what about you -- what do you do?"

"I'm a teacher. I hate No Child Left Behind. You guys have made my life hell. I can't even be a real teacher anymore because blah blah blobbity blah..."

After that I stopped listening and made up an excuse about needing to go check on a drunk friend.

Ya see folks, today when the President announced that his education policy included no substantive changes to No Child Left Behind and the potential for implementation of merit pay, he pissed off a LOT of teachers. Or, at least he will when they notice no real changes in the upcoming school year.

During my time as an appointee at the Dept of Education, I traveled the country with the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Undersecretary and all kinds of experts to go sell NCLB to school districts nationwide. And as many of you that know teachers would expect -- they couldn't stand the damn thing.

"We have to teach to the test!" "We lose time to really educate these kids!" "We can't focus on any other subjects!" etc. etc. etc. I heard it all.

And Obama doesn't address it one bit.

In fact, he wants to make the assessments harder. If that is done without modifying 'punishments' for failing, you're gonna see a whole new uproar.

Now, this may change in the House and Senate education committees, but for now -- Obama sure hasn't done the teachers any favors.

And they totally won't want to hang with him at Dewey Beach.


  1. Once again, one of your posts misses the mark wide left, by quite a far margin this time.


    "At the same time, however, he urged states to develop standards "that don't simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity."

    To help promote this goal, Obama said he would push for funding in the No Child Left Behind law to be more effectively tied to results. The Education Department, he said, would "back up this commitment to higher standards with a fund to invest in innovation in our school districts."

    Not to mention - simply giving adequate funding to NCLB is a huge change from the Bush administration.

  2. Mr. Anonymous,

    Wow. This doesn't even address the point of my post -- specifically, he isn't changing the testing standards that ticked off teachers nationwide. Ironically, I'm happy about it. NCLB is exactly what we needed, and brought with it more than adequate funding.

    In fact, Obama seems to be pushing for more federal control and requirements for teachers to follow. This won't please teachers.

    But the increased funds will make some people happy.

    The teachers' unions.


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