Monday, March 7, 2016

Education Policy and Fatherhood, the Obama Disconnect

By:  Cheryl Binkley 


How Can President Obama Simultaneously be such a kindly father, concerned about his daughter not having to transfer in high school, and yet appoint John King to carry forward the draconian Education policies the administration has prosecuted for the last 7 years that are so damaging to so many similarly aged students across the country?
I've wondered about this for a long time, and seen many friends consider that same question. Here's one take on that question.
Everything in President Obama’s background, from his grandmother’s job as Vice-President of a bank, to his childhood education in the best private schools and adolescent attendance at his family’s Unitarian Universalist church (one of the top 3 US religions for advanced education, along with Jews and Episcopalians) to his ivy league college experiences and being editor of Harvard Law Review has guided him to trust the views of those who are part of the Educated Elites. Those are the people who have surrounded him as friends, family, and advisors his whole life.
Little in his background prepared him to hear and understand the views of public high school graduates or even those who graduated from less elite public colleges. Unfortunately, the people whom he trusts are those who come from similarly rarified and privileged backgrounds or those who seek entry to that clan-- people like Bill Gates, Wendy Kopp, and Arne Duncan.
Like a person of a closed culture or religion who cannot reach past the limits of their immediate environment, the elite higher classes, the haute monde, in this country are trapped in the mirror of themselves as the superior and worthy standard makers, and Obama is like his friends, trapped in that view of himself and the world. This personal identity surpasses party affiliations and other ideological differences one might expect to create a divide among them.
Hence, they are simultaneously able to be kind, moral family members, friends, and neighbors to those like themselves, and yet hold the rest of the world as slightly less and needing supervision and guidance to be more like them and their friends.
The question for the rest of us is how to reclaim our nation and society sufficiently to counter-act this narrow clique's negative effects on our American Dream.

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