Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The pipeline is beginning to be full of little readers that are competent readers


Bush went to a school today. Well, if at first you don’t succeed...

It was the Harlem Village Academy Charter School, which he says is a “school where a child looks at the President and says, I don’t mind being tested, because I know that they’re going to help correct problems early, before it’s too late.” I’m sure one of the children really said exactly those words to him.

I’ve said before how obnoxious I find that “before it’s too late” thing, how insulting to people in adult literacy programs, learning to read in prisons, etc. I mean, GeeDubya is 60, and what is the following line if not a hidden cry for help: “When student struggle, they receive one-on-one tutoring during the school day.”

He said “Schools should be places of safety.” Which is why he brought a whole bunch of guys with guns with him.


The purpose of the trip was to call for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. He talked in a softly bigoted way about the soft bigotry of low expectations: “I have come to a school where some may say these children can’t possibly exceed high standards”.

The centerpiece of NCLB? Choice. “I like to be able to sit with parents and say, I have chose school for my child -- chosen the school for my child...”

His word of the day was herald: “See, I love it when somebody heralds that which is working and takes on that which is not working.” “so a good way to herald National Charter School Week is come to a charter school”. “the President has an opportunity to herald excellence, and I have seized that opportunity.”


Some of his other faves: There were 14 “in other words,” including “In other words, it matters what happens now in our schools, more so than ever before” and “In other words, there ought to be flexibility -- more flexibility as opposed to less flexibility when a school fails” and “So I said to a lot of the kids here at this school, how many of you want to go to college? They all rose -- raised their hand. That’s a good sign. In other words, this school believes in high expectations and putting in a child’s mind the possibilities of achieving a dream.”

And a death-defying double “in other words”: “In other words, something has changed here at this school. In other words, there is progress being made”.

He found 7 things “interesting,” including that a student asked why he’d come, and “Interestingly enough, this week is called National Charter School Week -- I mean, next week is called National Charter School Week, so a good way to herald National Charter School Week is come to a charter school”.

And something or other about tailoring was interesting: “The data from this school that you -- as a result of measurement helps teachers tailor their lesson plans to the specific needs of the child. Isn’t that interesting? The education system tailoring the needs to fit the -- tailor the curriculum to fit the needs of the child? That may sound simple, but it’s an unusual concept for a lot of schools.” I think I can honestly say that that didn’t sound simple.

And a two-fer: “I appreciate the results of this school. In other words, it’s interesting, isn’t it, that the President can come and say you’ve got good results here -- because you measure.”

And if you don’t want to measure, you hate America. Or at least “certain” children. “Now, if you believe certain children can’t learn, then you shouldn’t measure.”

He wants to extend NCLB to high schools. “I believe if you want to make sure a high school diploma means something, you better have high accountability in high schools.” And how did George spend high school? High.


“I can’t think of a better way to get somebody’s attention that we’re tired of mediocrity than to give a parent an option.” Really, George, you can’t think, period.

Here’s a thought you never expected to hear from George W. Bush: “If you find failure, it’s important to do something differently.”

A Texas oil man’s view of schools: “The pipeline is beginning to be full of little readers that are competent readers.” Maybe that’s what he means about reaching children before it’s too late. No Child Left Stuck in the Pipeline.




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