Today, the 112th Congress officially takes its seat. Anyone who watched the November elections realizes that a major change in philosophy takes the gavel in Washington, riding on the momentum of the “Tea Party” movement.
In our nation’s capital yesterday, President Barack Obama reissued his call to get fathers more involved in their children’s lives. Calling for “responsible fatherhood,” the President noted that fathers (Eduflack included) need to be part of their kids’ lives “not just with words, but with deeds.”
I propose you actually establish an Office of Family and Community Engagement, an authorized body at the Assistant Secretary level that can get information into the hands of those who need it most. The most recent regs from ED show that the current infrastructure isn’t getting it done. If you’re serious about greater family involvement, turning off the TVs, and such, make the commitment to Family Engagement (and we do have to think beyond the traditional mother/father nuclear parent family structure). EdTrust has today’s student attaining education at lower rates than their parents. That is a travesty. And the responsibility falls on the family. Parents are our first, and most durable, of teachers. Equip them with information, help them build the paths and help them paint the picture of the value and need for education. Create this new office, have it collaborate with OESE, OCO, and others, and see the impact of effectively collaborating with families and the community at large on education improvement.
Earlier today, Eduflack was hopeful that P-12 education would garner three or four paragraphs in the State of the Union, just enough space to lay out a bold call to action and a focus on real, lasting change. As the final speech was delivered this evening, P-12 got little more than a paragraph (while higher education and student loans got far greater attention).
Tonight is the State of the Union address. Across the nation, folks are looking at this speech to either make or break President Obama’s Administration (no pressure there). And while Eduflack continues to hear those in the education community expect that education reform will be front and center in tonight’s speech, I have my doubts. With an hour-long time slot likely to be interrupted by applause (and hopefully no more “you lies”), there is a lot to talk about. We have wars and national security. Jobs and the economy. Healthcare and Haiti. At best, I suspect education will get a few paragraphs about two-thirds of the way through the address.
ing. We need to give our educators all of the tools for success, knowing that not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. But if we expect our teachers to be held accountable for student achievement in their classrooms, we need to equip them with the skills and knowledge to manage their classes and deal with the challenges that cannot be planned for in a workshop, an institute, or a textbook. We need to empower and cultivate our teachers, much like the TAP program in my hometown of Chicago does.
While it may be the hip and hot thing to do, Eduflack is not going to spend the majority of today’s blog talking about this afternoon’s Presidential address to students. After reviewing the text of the speech, one lesson learned from my K-12 education comes to mind — Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. While it is unknown if the final remarks circulated today were the intended remarks, what POTUS will say to students in Arlington, Virginia today really is much ado about nothing. Read the remarks, and you will see a sprinkle of previous lines given by the President to civil rights organizations, with a heavy dose of the type of rhetoric often found in a mayor’s State of the City or a superintendent’s State of the Schools address. Stay in school Work hard. Wash your hands. Eat your vegetables. You can find the full speech here, but those worried about indoctrination should have greater worries about the latest infomercial or news segment on Fox or MSNBC than today’s remarks.
They need to know what they are working toward, how to measure success, and when we will be able to declare mission accomplished. Otherwise, this is just the latest in grassroots campaigns that mean well, but have no lasting impact on the education infrastructure.
In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of discussion and debate about President Obama’s decision to speak at graduation festivities at the University of Notre Dame. But little had been said about yesterday’s presidential commencement address at Arizona State University. Yes, there was some initial discussion about ASU’s decision not to award Obama the traditional honorary degree (apparently, ASU’s policy is that one is recognized for their full lifetime body of work, and the President of the United States still has to prove himself and still has other career chapters ahead of him), but that’s been about it. But few are discussing what’s behind the curtain on last night’s address in Tempe.
na State, you just get the spotlight because you won the White House lottery this year. Next year, such concerns can be raised about future institutions. But when you get the President speaking about hope and opportunity for your graduates, one has to take a close took at those who failed to don the cap and gown, why they weren’t in the stadium last evening, and what that means for ASU, Arizona, and the nation.
This morning, the Obama Administration released its plans for the FY2010 budget. Most in the education community have been taken by some of the big items found on the education side of the ledger. Cuts to Title I. Significant investments in early childhood education. Reductions in education technology. But it was a $6 million line item that caught the eye of Eduflack.
For those who thought STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) education was going to get swept away in the educational tsunamis of economic stimulus, core curriculum debates, student performance concerns, and a new national emphasis on achievement and innovation, guess again. Speaking before the National Academy of Sciences this morning, President Barack Obama spoke of the future of science and innovation the United States. And a good portion of it focused on education … STEM education.
ograms to allow students to get a degree in scientific fields and a teaching certificate at the same time. Think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, like science festivals, robotics competitions, and fairs that encourage young people to create, build, and invent – to be makers of things.
It is always interesting how people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. We all latch onto particular issues or ideas, believing that was the intent of a speech, a news story, or a television program. Some would say that the measure of a truly good advocacy speech is the speaker allows all audiences to find a little something in the text that rallies them to action, an idea or phrase that makes them believe the speaker understands their concerns and is doing something to solve the problem.
The education game is on. During last evening’s Presidential Address to Congress, President Obama dedicated significant time in his hour-long speech to the issue of education. Such a commitment is typically unheard of in typical State of the Union addresses. Often, a president will throw in a few sentences about education, one about the importance of teachers, one about the value of a college education, and then he will move onto to other issues more adept at capturing the hearts and minds of the American people.
ational benchmarks (as NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve have recently called for). The Administration has been dipping its toe into the national standards pool, and the financial commitment to improve state data systems is a good step forward. But the rhetorical nod to a single expectation for student achievement in the United States would have been a powerful, defining statement.