March 10, 2009

Walking the talk...

The education news of the day is the president's speech before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on education policy. No one should be surprised at the themes (investing in early-childhood education, raising standards, improving teacher quality, fostering innovation, and increasing access to higher education). Nor is the next level of policy surprising in terms of Obama's advocacy of raising caps for charter schools, promoting performance-pay for teachers, having tests that aren't just fill-in-the-bubble, shifting subsidized loans to the direct-from-fed lending, and so forth. (There are two exceptions, below...) The details are largely absent here (or at least the level of detail that would identify those who might agree or disagree with the details), but that's because the president's name is Barack Obama, not Bill Clinton. 

The two exceptions to the "yeah, yeah, I guessed he supported that" litany: state data systems and extending time spent in school. That's supremely wonkish and... well, more on those another time, but I did want to note them.

And, finally, it looks like Obama is starting to hit a post-inauguration stride on speeches. This isn't the high oratory of the May 2008 speech on race, but regardless of whether I agree with specific ideas, I think this had more of a natural rhythm than many of his speeches from the nomination acceptance through his inaugural address. I mean, many of his speeches from late August through late January are fine, but they're not Obama at his best. I know that this is getting much closer to the better end of the Obama speech spectrum. Well, except for one factual flub...

P.S. President Obama? Don't look at anything called "dropout rates." They're garbage. Look at graduation measures instead, even if they're technically weak.

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Tags: Barack Obama
Posted in Education policy on March 10, 2009 1:38 PM |