Obama Brags About ObamaCore in State of the Union Address

imagePresident Barack Obama discussed education in his State of the Union Address last night.  Here are his remarks preK-12 education below:

…But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs.

And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.

But today, fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So, tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.

That’s something we should be able to do.

Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on, by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children — like Georgia or Oklahoma — studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own.

We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.

Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so those German kids, they’re ready for a job when they graduate high school.

They’ve been trained for the jobs that are there. Now at schools like P-TECH in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York public schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this. And four years ago…

Four years ago, we started Race to the Top, a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year.

Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge, to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future. (emphasis mine)

Some thoughts.

So we’re going to ramp up Federal spending on early childhood education because Head Start has been such a wonderful example of success… oh wait.  Seriously, using early childhood education as segue after saying, “But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs.”  Then to say it has to “start at the earliest possible age.”

Is anybody else troubled by that statement?  Education is about more than churning out workers.  Also this new focus on early childhood education is troubling because while it is important that learning starts early it does matter who does the teaching and what the content is.

I submit it the role of parents, but the Obama administration wants those kids out of the home at 3 and 4-years-of-age.  Also what will this do to the private preschools that have provided this service for parents who wanted it?  In Iowa when they transitioned public schools to offer voluntary preschool we saw private preschools close.  It’s hard to compete with tuition-free.  It’s also something that Iowa didn’t need to be spending money on.  We’ve not really seen it garner success and the types of families that this program targeted were not the ones who probably would have benefitted the most.

I don’t see President Obama’s initiative any differently.

“That’s something we should be able to do.”

No it isn’t since again this would represent a further reach by the Federal government into education and that is simply unconstitutional.

He brags about ObamaCore, but hey this is just state-led right?  A “competition that coerced convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards.”  Wait a minute!  I thought these standards were not curricula?  Now it seems like he wants to shift this to STEM initiatives to produce more kids who are ready for jobs.  Again, this isn’t what education is solely about.  Also I’m concerned that an overemphasis on STEM will impact other areas of the curricula like literature, the arts, civics, etc.  Those are also equally important for a well-rounded education.

But hey who needs a well-rounded education as long as you can produce worker bees.

Update: Liv Finne of Washington Policy Center emailed this study they did on early childhood education programs.  She said, “Our research shows that the states with universal preschool have not improved student academic outcomes.  Providing preschool for economically disadvantaged children can be justified to help parents find and hold down jobs, but not on academic grounds.  The findings of three studies (Perry Preschool, Abecedarian and Chicago Child-Parent) have been exaggerated to support the universal preschool agenda.”