We had Mr. Obama’s speech today and a lot of people didn’t come to school. The teacher acted real weird and wouldn’t answer any questions, so I asked my dad to explain it and he did.
First he yelled at my mother for letting me go to school. Then he said the speech was very dangerous and wasn’t for me anyway, it was for the kids in the other schools across town and it could be a lot of trouble for us. Mr. Obama said a lot of stuff about staying in school and studying, I guess like I do with my nice tutor, and Dad says that’s fine for me, as long as I don’t miss sports practice, but if those other kids do he won’t be able to hire them at his business and we won’t have anyone to clean our pool and mow the lawn and stuff. He says they can’t really learn, most of them, and anyway if he needs people who go to college and all he can hire them in India or someplace else where they’re grateful and don’t make trouble.
I said, was I going to college? and he said sure, and then said was I getting any better throwing the football he gave me. I asked him about where the president said you could be a mayor or senator if you study hard and he banged his coffee cup down, he was so angry. He said somebody was taking his country away from him and one was enough. Then he went on the phone and yelled at a bunch of people about paying taxes to teach other people’s kids and foreigners who were going to take my place at Duke when they should be getting a job or maybe going to state, and then they’d try to organize his company. I don’t know what that means, or what state he meant. I know Duke is a college where Dad went; he says it used to be a school for people like us but isn’t sure now.
He was really mad.
Author: Michael O'Hare
Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training.
He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at UniversitÃ Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs.
At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4Ã—5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.
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2 thoughts on “What Obama is doing to our kids”
Is this the kind of thinking that inspired all the otherwise incomprehensible panic about the President's speech?
Did the examples of parallels in education speeches by Pres Reagan and Bush I come from the White House, or some enterprising journalist? I doubt it was invented by the Canadian newspaper that reported it on Tuesday. The parallels were pretty effective, at least for someone who does not find the current president a threat to his way of life.
Human compassion at its finest, eh? I wonder if the father would be thinking the same thing if his company went bankrupt and then somebody told him, with a smug smile, that his son should really just "get a job" at Burger King rather than dreaming about college, and then angrily protested about him taking "my money" when he said his son still wanted to go.
He sounds like one of those "good ol' boys" dreaming about the days when Yale kept the women and blacks at arms length.
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