excerpt from Community Media Workshop: Ideas for Obama
Newstip Date: 11-07-2008
Obama will be the first real education president, according to Julie Woestehoff of Parents United for Responsible Education. "He gets it," she writes on PURE's blog.
"He organized to help establish local school councils in
NCLB has "fundamental flaws" including overreliance on standardized testing, labeling struggling schools as "failing" and punishing them by withdrawing funding, Woestehoff said. Obama "has been out front on needing to change the way we assess students," she said.
In September PURE and the New York-based group Class Size Matters released a letter to presidential candidates (pdf) calling for attention to school overcrowding and safety, smaller class sizes, a rich curriculum including arts, and parent involvement, "with progress evaluated by high-quality, appropriate assessment tools that are primarily classroom-based."
While Obama has called for doubling federal funding for charter schools, the two groups argue that the proliferation of selective enrollment schools "risks creating wider disparities between the haves and have-nots...[W]hat is often advertised as increased parental choice actually means the ability of such schools to exclude our neediest students. The last thing our nation needs is a 'trickle down' educational system."
Not surprisingly, PURE has opposed the suggestion that CPS chief Arne Duncan be considered as Obama's education secretary, saying that position should be filled by someone with in-school experience who supports parent involvement.