For the answer, click here
Are we in the middle of what future historians will refer to as the Bush-Obama Era?
That might sound bizarre—until you notice the continuity of policy on crucial issues such as the economy and immigration. Remarkably, under Obama, much of the conventional wisdom of the Bush years continues to reign unquestioned.
Education policy showcases the stability of the Bush-Obama Age. Last week’s big speech on schools given by President Obama to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was essentially a sequel to President Bush’s speeches on the same topic in 2001.
Granted, Bush didn’t start his orations on American education by leading mass chanting in Spanish as Obama just did:
THE PRESIDENT: “Thank you. [Applause.] Si se puede.
AUDIENCE: “Si se puede! Si se puede! Si se puede!”
Somehow, though, I suspect that Bush is now kicking himself that he didn’t think of that cool opening. “Si se puede!” That rocks!
Since the topic is schooling, let’s take a test.
Which President orated:
“The highest percentage increase in our budget should go to our children's education. Education is my top priority and by supporting this budget, you will make it yours as well. … Measuring is the only way to know whether all our children are learning—and I want to know, because I refuse to leave any child behind. … “
George W. Bush
It definitely wasn’t Eisenhower. When Sputnik alerted America in 1957 that we were in a dead-serious competition with the Soviet Union for technological mastery of ballistic missiles, the 1958 National Defense Education Act responded by delivering stronger education to the stronger students—where the highest return on investment was attainable. In contrast, both Bush and Obama believe in investing more where the ROI is lowest.
OK, you can tell from the clunky prose style that the quotes above come from Bush in 2001. But the philosophy remains the same.
In his speech last week, Obama told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:
“And yet, despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we've let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us. Let me give you a few statistics.”[Transcript, March 10, 2009]
Uh-oh. Obama is into words, not numbers, so his rhetorical statistics tend to be half-digested factoids that raise more questions than they answer:
“In 8th grade math, we've fallen to 9th place. Singapore's middle-schoolers outperform ours three to one. Just a third of our 13- and 14-year-olds can read as well as they should.”
How do American students do compared to foreigners?
March 15, 2009
From my new VDARE.com column: