If he were still in office today, how would George W. Bush have weighed in on the school “reform” movement? I pose several questions about hot topics in education reform— then I have responded with well-known G.W. quotes. In a few cases I have combined quotes and noted them as such.
Eli Broad, Michelle Rhee, etc.
Q: What do you think about Eli Broad’s “disruptive” and “unreseasonable” approach to education reform?
A: “When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”
Charters and Vouchers
Q: How about charter and voucher approaches that help the few at the expense of the many?
A: “And so the fact that they purchased the machine meant somebody had to make the machine. And when somebody makes a machine, it means there’s jobs at the machine-making place.”
Mexican American Studies
Q: What is your opinion on the banning of Mexican American studies in the state of Arizona?
A: “Border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better.”
High-Stakes Testing and Accountability
Q: Is education policy too focused on high-stakes testing and accountability?
A: “”I want it to be said that the Bush administration was a results-oriented administration, because I believe the results of focusing our attention and energy on teaching children to read and having an education system that’s responsive to the child and to the parents, as opposed to mired in a system that refuses to change, will make America what we want it to be - a more literate country and a hopefuller country.”
Q: What do you think about the data that shows that our society continues to disproportionately send under-certified and unprepared teachers to teach Black and Latina/o students?
A: “We ought to make the pie higher.”
Q: Do you support bilingual curriculum and ESL approaches in schools?
A: “Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican.”
Common Core and Mandated Standards
Q: What is your opinion on standards and the Common Core?
A: “I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.”
Q: What do you think about diversity?
A: “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
Q: What is your view on the school privatization movement?
A: I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”
Goal of Education
Q: Should we be focused on the economic benefits of our educational system?
A: “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”
Billionaires and Education “Reform” Movement
Q: Despite the money that billionaires are pumping into the “reform” movement, will public schools stay public?
A: “Haven’t we already given money to rich people? Why are we going to do it again?”
Thank you for your wisdom George W. We miss you. I am hopeful that our current leaders (elected and non-elected) will more consistently espouse your wisdom in our nation’s education policy debates.
With apologies to JVH