Saturday, March 27, 2010

Part One - An Overview of Education Reform

President Obama once said, "If something were easy, it wouldn't wind up on my desk."

We can go a little further as we consider the basic premise of that comment. In any particular challenge to the country, and, hence, to the President, the work will inevitably include two parts, that is, in the sense of students around here, each effort will inevitably include a Primary and a Secondary Model.

The Primary Model will deal with the specific substance of the challenge. The Secondary Model will be equally critical, entrenched in the interpersonal aspects of the challenge. You know, politics.

Education reform will be no exception.

Not only will President Obama have to create a plan which will directly address the immediate threat of US educational failure, he will have to formulate that plan in a way which will address the "multiple constraint environment" in which it will ultimately be hosted and executed.

"Multiple constraint environment?" Secondary Model?

Yes. The Primary Model will deal with the material changes which will be required to re-establish a functional educational system -- it will include all parts of the reform other than the political lubricant required to enlist the American taxpayers, the Congress, the teachers, the parents, and, of course, the hill billies. The Primary Model is the substance of the changes necessary to start producing educated students. More about that later.

However, we all know that whatever the Primary Model might be, putting it in place will have everything to do with the success of all the aspects of the Secondary Model.

How will people see the plan? How accurately will people gauge the  pressing necessity of it?

Will they be enthusiastic supporters or will they fight any proposal "tooth and nail," inebriated with an out of date, aging, neo-con ideology, bombarded with vacuous "talking points" and crassly manipulated by every scare tactic which can be applied by those who, caring nothing about the future of the country, will selfishly pay any price to recapture political advantage?

As the program is being designed, its final success will be a mix of the two components. It can never work if the essential nature of it doesn't address concrete matters of classrooms, text books, students, parents, teachers and graduation rates, but it can also never work if the people who must support it can be convinced not to support it.

In the words of Ed Schultz (The Ed Schultz Show, KABQ 130 AM, Albuquerque, 4PM to 7PM weekdays), "The rocks come with the field."

The whole thing is complex enough that MeanMesa could make posts as long as the Manhattan phone book on the subject. However, let's try to stay focused on what we consider the essential facets of the undertaking. This means, "Don't be too critical of our treatment of the matter just because you think we've left something out of the soup."

Is Obama Over Reacting?

To set the stage, MeanMesa presents the following background. First we can suggest a quick review of a couple of earlier posts on this blog concerning both the issues of substance and the political challenges.

Obma's Next Stink Hole: Educational Performance Testing

The Surrender of Critical Thought

Now, to assuage those visitors who might think MeanMesa has, once again, "fallen off the wagon" of our normal genteel equanimity while blowing the horn for our own posts, we have tried to select just few videos which might validate our -- and, perhaps, Obama's -- extreme concern about this topic. For background preparation, spend a couple of minutes with the videos at the other end of these links. They speak for themselves.

A short little "speech" from Michael Savage and some of his listeners:

A You Tube short from Kieth Olberman's show:

Although the subtle messages in these videos might seem just a little "out of sorts," this quality of discourse would never be possible among a populated electorate.  

THAT is the focus of this series of postings on education. When the citizens appearing in these videos are invited to explain what has brought them to these positions, they are only able to offer only the "talking points" which have incited their anger.

That is the foundation of Obama's commitment to critical education reform and this series of MeanMesa postings.

And, to lighten things up a little here at the very end, from Huffington Post:
Why include such a hilarious thing in a posting about education reform?

Well, there is a point -- one which is made clearer by a PBS coverage of a week or so ago.  In the PBS News Hour story, the women who flew bombers and fighters to the front lines in WW2 were being honored  by the President and the Congress. 

 The video from PBS News Hour:

The context for a beneficial comparison surfaces right here.  Could these theoretically educated beauty queens contribute in a similar way when the nation needed their help?

Worse, given the personal development of such beauties,  would they?  We begin with the context of education and education reform, but we are almost immediately confronting matters of being.  Human beings have to, well, be, and that undertaking in this culture means being educated.

Please join MeanMesa for the whole series of postings on education reform.

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