February 25, 2012

President Obama: you just lost my vote

Photo credit: Care2 Make a Difference
"You lost a lot more than me," Mr. President. "You just lost my vote."

Annette Bening's perfectly-delivered line during a climactic moment in the movie, The American President, is one that should resonate with President Obama, as tens of thousands of angry teachers in New York are likely saying the same thing today.

One day after New York teacher rankings were published, those educators and hundreds of thousands more nationwide are outraged, and we're not just mad at the idiots in New York who allowed this useless data to go public.

I'm certain that I speak for many of my colleagues when I say that the blame for this must fall squarely at the feet of President Barack Obama. After all, a monstrous $5 billion of Obama's education budget is intended to "tie teacher pay to performance." Don't assume for a second that "performance" means how well teachers actually teach. This is all about standardized testing -- something Obama suggested he'd fix, while campaigning four years ago.

Being kind, I'd say Obama has fallen short of his goal of fixing No Child Left Behind. Being accusatory, I'd say that Obama has flat-out lied.

If anything, during Obama's presidency, American education has gotten much worse than it was when he arrived. Not only are we still stuck with the monster that is high stakes testing, now teachers are being judged by this insidious data, which even most people outside of the profession realize is nothing short of illogical.

I proudly supported Barack Obama four years ago. I even campaigned form him. When things were going poorly his first couple of years in office, I defended him. Enough is finally enough. I can no longer support a president who has turned his back on education. I can't defend a purportedly-intelligent man, who wasn't smart enough to hire an educator to run his education department. I can't stand by a leader who values numbers over people.

President Obama has lost me as a supporter. He's lost more than me, though. He's just lost my vote.