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Obama’s address to students

Did any schools show this today?

Posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
Under: Obama | No Comments »

Schools, the government and appearances

I’ve thought about the relationship between school reform and public perception since 2008, when I watched Gov. Schwarzenegger push – and the California Board of Education approve – a middle school Algebra I requirement (which was halted in court, months later), over the protests of the state superintendent of schools.

The same questions came to mind last week, as I reported on the Obama/Duncan administration’s prescriptions for the country’s lowest-performing schools — remedies that lack research to show that they actually work, according to researchers quoted in Education Week.

Bruce FullerIs the government more concerned about public perception than anything else? Is it trying to look like it’s doing something to improve public schools, whether or not the desired outcomes follow? If so, is this an old phenomenon?

Bruce Fuller, an education and public policy professor at UC Berkeley, is studying some related questions, though he frames them in a more sophisticated way and grounds them in more than just a hunch. His theory is that the American public (since the 1980s) has been so cynical about `big government,’ and so unwilling to pay new taxes, that the government “flailing” around, trying to look “efficacious” with fewer and fewer resources.

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Posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2010
Under: Obama, politics, school reform, Schwarzenegger | 12 Comments »