Obama’s Education Plan

Saw this on The Huffington Post today:
Obama’s Call to Arms on Education Reform  – by SUSAN KAISER GREENLAND
An excerpt:

“In stark contrast to McCain’s continued embrace of No Child Left Behind, and the nightmarish wave of fear and teaching to the test that has come in its wake, Obama again offered a nuanced approach. He didn’t discard testing altogether, and it was no surprise that he put teachers first by proposing economic incentives to bring the best and the brightest into the profession. But for those watching education he did something very interesting. He took the national stage to support a specific philosophy of learning — an integrative curriculum.

The idea of an integrated curriculum (where Arts and Physical Education are as much a part of core studies as traditional subjects like English, History, Math and Science) is well established and supported by research. Studies show that teaching Arts and PE improves academic performance, and new research links teaching social and emotional skills to a significant increase in achievement scores. But when our national priority is teaching to a single high-stakes test, there isn’t much time in the school day for these and other innovative programs.”

Thoughts anyone?

Follow the link above and read the article which has a link to the speech Obama gave on this subject.

Learning is messy!

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5 thoughts on “Obama’s Education Plan

  1. My school is cutting back all specials (gym, health, art, home ec, foreign language) to only 30 minutes a day and increasing the core subjects (math, science, social studies, language arts, etc.) to 55 minutes. In the past all classes were 40 minutes, no matter the subject. The students are in an uproar because some really excel in phys ed and art and thirty minutes just isn’t enough time when you get everything set up.
    It will be interesting to see how it all plays out next year.

  2. Our small, rural high school has one period of art a day teaching Arts I – III and limited to 20 students for a student population of 350. The only other “fine arts” classes we have are 4 periods of band. We do have a Phys Ed requirement and JROTC which is great. I just wish our students had more arts opportunities such as more art, photography, graphic arts, pottery, chorus, drama, etc. Only providing academic and vocational courses limits our students ability to develop to their full potential…not everyone is academically or vocational inclined…our artists need an outlet, too!

  3. Why in the world would any educated person be reading such trifling drivel as the Huffington Post? If you really want to know about what John McCain thinks about education, why don’t you simply go to:


    At the very least, go to Ontheissues.org and check him out.

    As for the two pp comments, I don’t see the problem. Obiviously students aren’t getting what they need to keep up in the core classes, which are the most important – hence the reasons they are dubbed the core subjects.

    It seems to me that if students are destined to be artists, they’ll pursue art as a hobby, take classes at a local museum – whatever. I don’t know of many artists who needed a curriculum and a teacher (especially at high school level) to pursue their art.

    Public schools have more serious problems than 30 minute art classes or a lack of a class in photography. Didn’t schools used to have after-school clubs in interests like these – it’s called “extra-curricular activities.”

    Granted, NCLB hasn’t been the perfect solution, but it was certainly better than what was being done before, which is nothing. Attaching funding to test results hits the schools in the pocketbook, which seems to be the only thing that will encourage a lot of schools to make improvements. I noted on Ontheissues.org that the NEA gives John McCain a 45%, which is fine with me, because I happen to believe the NEA is one of the problems that needs to be eliminated.

    This is an interesting read about how Bill Clinton blamed Ted Kennedy for the flaws in NCLB:


  4. Mia –

    Could one of the reasons that more students aren’t doing better in the “core subjects” is because we haven’t allowed schools to move into this century along with everyone else? Could you imagine a businessman from a hundred years ago dealing with all the changes in how businesses work today? How about a doctor from one hundred years ago? Do you think they would notice any changes in how medicine is practiced today? Now let’s take a student from one hundred years ago and plunk them down in a school from today. They’d note different clothing styles, and the furniture is a bit different. In most schools they’d still see chalkboards and desks, and pencils and paper and books. Teachers in many classrooms would still be doing things pretty much the way they did 100 years ago too. Hmmm…. maybe that student from 100 years ago would fit in pretty well.

    How can a student know if they are destined to be an artist if they have rarely been exposed to art? In our present situation students in primary grades focus only on literacy and math, they rarely do much more than simple drawing. No real art is taught. Science and social studies are only taught through reading class. PE is not funded despite the fact that students are increasingly obese. Students often have to pay extra fees to participate in sports, music and other extra-curricular activities … so guess which schools have the highest participation? Student drop out rates are abysmal because for too many students school has little relevance. Your after school clubs idea would help too, who will stay after school to run quality ones for free? Schools aren’t funded adequately for all they are asked to do though so money for such programs is very hard to find.

    You say:
    “It seems to me that if students are destined to be artists, they’ll pursue art as a hobby, take classes at a local museum – whatever. I don’t know of many artists who needed a curriculum and a teacher (especially at high school level) to pursue their art.”

    Really? The place where I live there is a museum about 10 miles from my school that offers such classes. How will we get the students there and home? Parents are working or don’t understand the value of such activities or don’t like having their kids away from home. How will we get them interested in going if they have done very little art in school or elsewhere and have never been to a museum? Why not offer such classes in the elementary schools which are located in the neighborhoods where the students live? No driving, just stay after school, the teacher drives instead of 30 people driving. More kids will participate because it’s easy and some of them will gain an appreciation for art and some might even become artists or musicians or?

    Some students stay in school because they are athletes and participating in sports keeps them coming to school (you hear that all the time when they interview the pros) – maybe we should make access to sports more inclusive and more students would stay (but that would cost money, so I guess not). We have turned our high schools into “college prep only” academies despite the fact that most kids don’t go to college (but I wish more had the opportunity to go and would go). How many more students could we get to stay if we offered more and higher quality options in the arts, technology, mechanics, sports, and more? It would be the best money we could spend … imagine investing in our kids. Kids with more relevant things to do might even stay out of trouble and become more educated and we could spend less on crime … might be a bit of a trade off in costs there even.

    I’d go into why NCLB is much less than “not perfect”, but that will have to come another time.