January 25, 2012

School Choice Week: Obama says just spend more

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

Happy School Choice Week everyone.  You can find my other two posts for this week here and here.  I just learned that the Friedman Foundation has started a new blog and Twitter account, @EdChoice.  Make sure to check those out, the Friedman Foundation is doing great work for school choice.

With President Obama’s State of the Union last night, I thought it might be interesting to see if he had any thoughts about school choice.  Here’s what he said:

At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced States to lay off thousands of teachers.  We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.   Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.  Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies — just to make a difference.

Teachers matter.  So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal.  Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones.  In return, grant schools flexibility:  To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.

We also know that when students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma.  So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.

Yes, it nearly impossible to discern any positions in that platitude-laden block of rhetoric, but Obama does seem to be inferring that schools/teachers just simply aren’t getting the resources they need to education. There is certainly no hint of giving parents the right to choose where their children attend school.

Is the problem with public schools, simply just a lack of resources?  Or is their something more fundamental that needs to be done?

 

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