Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama's Devotion to Public Education

Obama expresses his devotion to public education, however he doesn't support the needed improvements in public education (i.e. charter schools and school vouchers) to help children in poorer areas.

July 5, 2007: "Obama slams school vouchers and neglects to champion charter schools to Nation’s largest teachers’ union. Four years after championing charter schools, after running officially for the Presidency for almost five months, Obama implicitly throws “Charter schools,” overboard-- and the minority kids in failing public schools under the bus. Speaking today to the NEA, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, Obama decided to pander with the best of the pandering presidential candidates, telling the assembled teachers that he would not “abandon public schools,” by handing out school vouchers. Instead, Obama is going to abandon the kids in the failing public schools and make sure they have no way out, whether it be via school vouchers or charter schools. Obama’s solution? Investing “billions of dollars,” in teachers by “raising teachers salaries." - Jeff Bekowitz from Public Affairs

If public schools are so great and Obama believes he can fix them without these needed changes -then ask yourself this question: "Why doesn't Obama put his children in public schools?"

No, he is from the "elite" class, not the "working" class that he claims he wants to help. If he really wants to help the "working" class, then he would allow the needed reform in education to take place. Instead he backs up NEA and refuses to support school vouchers and charter schools.

McCain stated: "I believe parents should be empowered with school choice to send their children to the school that can best educate them just as many members of Congress do with their own children," ( Apparently Obama doesn't agree with McCain on this issue anymore -- (Obama changed his mind again) Obama view now: Parents shouldn't be able to decide what school is best for their kids. The government should decide...and will continue to throw more money at a failed system.

But I ask -WHY shouldn't PARENTS decide where to send their children, since it's THEIR money to begin with? The MONEY belongs to the people, NOT the government, and people should have a say.

Obama disagrees with this and doesn't believe that parents of the "working" class should be empowered like those of the "elite" class. What's good for the masses is not good enough for me, being the leader of said movement. The Kennedys, the Gores, the Obamas - all private educations that cost in the area of $20,000/yr. Public school is good enough for our kids, but never good enough for theirs. The only politician in recent memory whose children went to, and graduated from, public schools were President Bush's daughters.

"Barack and Michelle Obama are poised to commit a classic act of limousine-liberal hypocrisy -- in this case, turning their backs on tens of thousands of inner-city kids in Washington, D.C. Public schools, it seems, are good enough for poor and middle-class families, but not for rich families like the Obamas. In July, when he addressed the NAACP's annual convention, Sen. Barack Obama expressed his devotion to American public schools, vowing he would not 'walk away from them' by supporting school-choice programs like Sen. John McCain did. ... There were 59,616 students enrolled in the D.C. public schools in 2006, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. If McCain's plan to increase by 2,000 the number of vouchers available in the District were enacted, taxpayers would still be spending $15,798 per student per year to send more than 55,000 kids through a school system where about nine out of 10 students do not learn to read or do math at grade-level proficiency by the time they 'graduate' from elementary school. What is Obama's plan to deal with this? Spend $18 billion more in federal tax dollars on public education (as he promised in his campaign) -- and send his own kids to extremely expensive private schools. Currently, Obama's two daughters (ages 7 and 10) attend the University of Chicago Lab School, where tuition is $18,492 for grades 1-4 and $20,286 for grades 5-8. When Michelle Obama visited Washington this week, she toured only two prospective schools for her daughters: Sidwell Friends, where lower-school tuition is $28,442; and Georgetown Day, where tuition is $27,445 for grades 1-5." --columnist Terence Jeffrey

"Of course, Obama’s views and Hillary’s views on the subject of education and pandering to the NEA are most likely no worse than all the other Democratic Primary presidential candidates. This is because the Democratic Party has become a fully owned subsidiary of the teachers unions, at least with respect to education. The difference with Barack is that he, at least, for a while exhibited an open mind on education. But, no more. The handlers have done their job." Jeff Berkowitz from public affairs at

Transcripts tracking the closing of “Obama’s mind.” transcripts below quoted from Public Affairs by Jeff Berkowitz -

"State Senator Barack Obama [D-Chicago]: …I am also willing to say that I am not close minded on this issue [School Vouchers, School Choice] so I think everybody should go into this with the basic attitude that the bottom line is--how are we providing the most effective education for students at every grade level and every economic strata, and if we are doing that, then we shouldn't be didactic or ideological about how to best deliver that.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, I take that to mean that under the right circumstances you, Barack Obama, possible U. S. Senate Candidate from the State of Illinois, could support school vouchers and could even do so in your role as a state senator in the Illinois Legislature.

State Senator Barack Obama: No, what you can take that to mean is that I am willing to listen to these arguments and see if there-- If I can be persuaded that ultimately kids would be better off, then--

Berkowitz: Then you would support it.

State Senator Barack Obama: I would support anything that is going to be better off for the children of Illinois.

Berkowitz: Including school vouchers, if you are persuaded?

State Senator Barack Obama: Whatever is on the table I think has to be debated.

Jeff Berkowitz: Quite a concession. I am going to quit while I am ahead. Let's go over to the Pledge of Allegiance. Yesterday, another major decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals...
Then State Senator Barack Obama, interviewed on “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz,” a Chicagoland political interview show taped on June 27, 2002 [See here and here for current "Public Affairs," shows].
Jeff Berkowitz: Well, your views might have changed. Last time, you said you will do anything that improves the [school] situation and you were open to school vouchers. Did I get that right?

U. S. Senate Candidate and State Senator Barack Obama: What I said was--I think that we have to consider every possibility of improving what admittedly is an intolerable [Public] school system for a lot of inner-city kids. I do not believe in vouchers. I am a strong supporter of charter schools, as you know. I think that we do have to innovate and experiment to encourage competition in the school systems... *******************************************
Berkowitz: ... Here is my [school voucher] backpack, right here.

U. S. Senate Candidate and State Senator Barack Obama: I have done the backpack thing, Jeff

Berkowitz: But, you haven't done it as a U. S. Senate candidate. Here it is. It has changed now. We are now spending about $9,000 [per kid per year operating cost in the CPS]. It went up from $8,000 [per year per kid]. Here is the [school voucher] backpack. I am the parent. I am serious. I want to know. Barack Obama, could you give me that backpack? That is, $9,000 for each kid [of mine.] $18,000 that I could spend at a school [of my choice for my two kids]. You don't want to do that for me?

U. S. Senate Candidate and State Senator Barack Obama: Jeff, Jeff

Berkowitz: [Berkowitz offers the school voucher backpack to Obama]. You don't want to take that backpack? I didn't think so.

U. S. Senate Candidate and State Senator Barack Obama: We are going to get in this debate again. As I have said before, I believe that the voucher program is, although I believe that there are very sincere proponents like yourself, I think that the ultimate result of initiating a voucher program ends up being to, over time, not foster competition, but, in fact, to reduce the options available particularly for the hardest to reach kids because a private market system will not ultimately try to reach the toughest to teach kids. That's a debate that we have had before. What I do know is at the federal level what we can do on the education front is make sure that programs like "Leave no child behind," actually don't leave the money behind, which is what's happened with [President] George Bush.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, that [No Child Left Behind] doesn't give choice. You and I agree on that?

U. S. Senate Candidate and State Senator Barack Obama: That I certainly agree with. I think the notion that somehow these kids now have options if they are in failing schools when in fact they don't –

Berkowitz: [Holding up the $18,000 voucher backpack for two kids]. This is an option: $18,000. It is $18,000; School of your choice.

U. S. Senate Candidate and State Senator Barack Obama: It is not true. Because the kids on the South Side of Chicago; the kids in King High School, or in Crane, or in other of these schools will not end up going to New Trier High School [One of the best public schools, nationally, located in the North Shore in Illinois].

Berkowitz: They don't have to. They just need to go to a BETTER school [than their current one] and eventually there will be a New Trier. But it doesn't have to be New Trier overnight.
Then State Senator Barack Obama, interviewed on “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz,” a Chicagoland political interview show on July 18, 2003 [See here and here for current "Public Affairs," shows].
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama: The ideal of a public education has always been at the heart of the American promise. It's why we are committed to fixing and improving our public schools instead of abandoning them and passing out vouchers. …
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama: By 12th grade, our children [in public schools] score lower on their math and science tests than most other kids in the developed world. Sixty percent of African-American fourth graders [in public schools] are unable to read at a basic level, and today only 9% of low-income students will graduate from college.
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama: In the coming weeks, I'll be laying out the specific details of my plan to invest billions of new dollars into the teaching profession…
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama: So let's make a promise right now that if you're a teacher or a principal doing the hard work of educating our children, we will reward that work with the salary increase that you deserve
U. S. Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, speaking today at the Annual Meeting of the National Education Association [the largest teachers union in the country] at the Pennsylvania Convention Center [See here].
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at"

Education Watch is trying to get this message out - When parents have control over where their kids go to school and hold the school accountable, education for all children improves.

"Phil Brand is the director of Education Watch and is currently embarking on the "American Schools Tour." The tour is a journalistic project aimed at gauging how education is fairing across the U.S. and, more specifically, how school choice is affecting education. Brand says he will visit two schools in each state and that those schools could range from public, private, or even home schools.

"The message that we're trying to get out is that parents should have as much control over where their kids go to school and that sort of having schools accountable to parents -- whether they're public schools or private schools -- really improves the education system for all kids," he explains." from:

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