Thursday, September 11, 2008

has the obama campaign been reading our meme of the 5 things policy makers should know?

i am a huge dork. i say this frequently, but i don't think you realize exactly what kind of huge dork i am. on my xm radio i listen to the potus08 station... 24/7 coverage of the presidential election. and i've listened to it for a year now, when it started covering the early days of running. i'm fascinated by presidential politics (needless to say west wing is my all-time favorite tv show).

so, these days, whenever i'm in my car i'm listening to a campaign speech from one candidate or another. there are things i agree with each of them on, and things i don't agree with each of them on. but this is an education-focused blog so i'm only going to write about what i heard about education yesterday.

i was listening to obama's speech yesterday, i believe the one he gave in norfolk, va. i found myself hitting my legs, clapping my hands, and waving my fists in the air. people at stoplights rubber-necked to see what was wrong with the crazy lady in the car next to them.

all us education bloggers have been writing on the meme the 5 things we wished policy makers would know. well, obama hit on some key points i was surprised to hear come from any politician's mouth and not a seasoned educator.

1) children readiness matters (yes, we've all heard this one, but wait for it, he went on...) children need certain skills to be successful in kindergarten, including... the skill of how to sit still and listen to a story. did i not blog on this two days ago? is this not essential knowledge children need if we're going to teach anything in kindergarten? it sound so small, but it makes a huge difference in the classroom. to know what a story is and to already know how to listen to one before you walk in the doors of kindergarten is huge.
2) the special education debate over inclusion vs pull-out, etc comes down to looking at what works for each child. essentially, trusting teachers that they are going to do what works for each child based on data. (did he go to my special education grad classes? some policy maker must have). of course he didn't use the words "trusting teachers" because we never hear politicians say that, but essentially what he said would have amounted to giving teachers the respect that we will make informed decisions for each child, and that there is not a fix-all answer for all children. what? each child is not the same? when have we ever heard that implied??
3) to attrach more males to education we need to pay teachers competitive salaries that will attract more people in general to the profession. in society pay=respect. (ok, that is one we have heard politicians say, but it is something we all wish for).

obviously he said all this with more polish than i can recount and i have not really done it justice. plus, now i'm late for school...

for my republican family members that read my blog, i'm not endorsing any candidate, but i was excited to hear my beliefs brought up on the campaign trail. i have other opinions about other policies that can be debated in another place at another time. :)

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