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The U. S. Department of Education Picture that Should Be Put Up on Billboards to Show What's Wrong with the New Administration's Approach to Public Education

by Susan Ohanian

A physics professor emeritus complained that making fun of this picture is a "cheap shot at President Obama's education secretary," who is, after all, just encouraging kids to read during the summer. See below for a possible answer as to just who those kids are.

On the other hand, recently retired Florida educators Bill Archer and Sandra Gail Blackburn wrote a state union rep about "The picture that's worth a thousand words about what's wrong with the new Administration's approach to public education. Put it on a highway billboard."

They continue:

"We observed in this photo what happens when two politicos pretend to be able to teach. They don't even know how to keep the students' attention. And don't seem to care. Share this with your union hierarchy in California. Let teachers know how poorly they are regarded by these smug Obama minions who are giving Bush's education program a third term. These guys are like untrained doctors who have entered the operating room to work on a dying patient. Like untrained doctors they haven't a clue about what to do.

The picture shows Mr. Axelrod and Mr. Duncan haven't the slightest idea about what successful teaching strategies are and what it takes to be a successful teacher. And the disengaged students in the picture are a clear indication of the failure their continued approach will yield nationwide if they succeed in their takeover of public education.

The picture should be given to all teachers with the requirement that they write a five paragraph essay describing what it reveals to them as professionals and what it means to their future careers in education. Turn the essays into a book! This singular picture, better than no other, serves as evidence to demonstrate the continued impotence of Bush education policies. Put in on a local billboard for all to see how not to teach the public's children. Let the public public know the deceptions hidden behind the 'innocent presentation.'

Here is a second photo.

I've gotten a lot of mail on these two pictures, people commenting on:

  • the crazy furniture someone dragged outdoors

  • the fact that if this is supposed to represent D. C. public school children, there sure are a lot of white kids in these pictures

  • kids wearing St. Patrick's T-shirts. St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School runs a summer camp: Three 10-day sessions priced from $815 to $835 for each session. Here is the application form.

  • Someone asked, "Aren't any of Duncan's favorite charter schools open in the summer, that he had to tap private school kids as a captive audience?"

  • And so on.

    Every teacher who wrote was appalled by how out of touch the book presenters were with the children in front of them. With all the talk about the need for 'highly qualified' teachers, wouldn't it be a sensation to have even a moderately qualified Secretary of Education?

    — Susan Ohanian




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