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Why Are People Acting Surprised by Obama?


Ohanian Comment: I'm as puzzled as George by the ongoing belief that Obama has just made a momentary slip, the refusal to acknowledge that he's just doing what he said he'd do. For years, I've been posting his education platform, and it's never been pretty. I had a front row seat with George at the AFT convention, when he talked of merit pay and bigger and better testing. And the conventioneers gave him a standing ovation.

Barack Obama is intelligent, articulate, and inspiring. He's also corporate to the core. I know people want to remain hopeful, but thinking a corporate man is going to experience conversion for the sake of public schoolchildren is really investing energy in hope over reason, experience, and reality.


by George Schmidt

There has been some talk here (and elsewhere) around the notion that Barack
Obama is not a corporate school reformer of the worst type. The record in
Illinois (general assembly) was clear. Not once, as I state in the Labor Beat
video
on the June 29 Duncan protest at Advance Illinois) did Barack Obama
vote or speak against any of the horrors of corporate "school reform" as it
was being carried out in Chicago under the Amendatory Act of 1995, which gave
Daley dictatorial control over CPS.

The appointment of Arne Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education was as
consistent with the actual Obama record in Chicago and Illinois as have been most
of the other things Barack Obama has done since taking office. Barack Obama
supported the re-election of Richard M. Daley and Daley's dictatorial (and
we argue, racist) control over Chicago's public schools for more than a decade.

This discussion of the President of the United States is kind of an insult
to Barack Obama. He was very consistent. He was always the corporate guy,
going back to his work with his buddies at Ariel Captial Management and other
similar groups. His current love affair with lucrative Hedge Fund and
similar donors is nothing new. Nor is his approach to globalization and Wall
Street. Barack Obama was also always the privatizer, and (except for a brief
period when we helped him get the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate) always
the union buster (via privatizatoin, "choice," etc.). I saw him at the hotel
where the AFT convention was being held last August the night before he
snubbed AFT and spoke via remote, beginning his remarks with "I'm sorry I can't
be with you today..."

What he should have said, "I'm not going to be on stage with you or the
NEA, since my intention is that after you elect me I'm going to make No Child
Left Behind look like Candyland... I can't be seen hanging out with unions
now that you've done your job and put me in the U.S. Senate..." etc.

Barack Obama's teacher bashing has usually been done by proxy (at this
point, Arne Duncan; historically, by keeping his mouth shut while Daley teacher
bashed), but it's also part of the record.

We are updating our website continually, and will slowly post the complete
history of the Duncan years in Chicago (2001 - 2008) with all of the
details. One point is most worth making. During the Duncan years, Chicago's public
schools eliminated the jobs of 2,000 black teachers and principals behind
the smokescreen of "accountability." That large a purge of black teachers was
last done by the leaders of white America in the early 1950s in places like
Mississippi.

— George Schmidt
Arn2-Strategy discussion group

2009-08-13


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