David Brooks uses folksy anecdote to gush over Obama’s Big Nanny Statism
Posted by danishova on March 13, 2009
David Brooks is enthralled by Obama’s plans for the government to take over for Mom and Dad:
In his education speech this week, Barack Obama retold a by-now familiar story. When he was a boy, his mother would wake him up at 4:30 to tutor him for a few hours before he went off to school. When young Barry complained about getting up so early, his mother responded: “This is no picnic for me either, Buster.”
That experience was the perfect preparation for reforming American education because it underlines the two traits necessary for academic success: relationships and rigor. The young Obama had a loving relationship with an adult passionate about his future. He also had at least one teacher, his mom, disinclined to put up with any crap.
Heh. Where does this leave those of us who are “disinclined to put up with”… Obama’s crap?
The reform vision Obama sketched out in his speech flows from that experience. The Obama approach would make it more likely that young Americans grow up in relationships with teaching adults. It would expand nurse visits to disorganized homes. It would improve early education. It would extend the school year. Most important, it would increase merit pay for good teachers (the ones who develop emotional bonds with students) and dismiss bad teachers (the ones who treat students like cattle to be processed).
We’ve spent years working on ways to restructure schools, but what matters most is the relationship between one student and one teacher. You ask a kid who has graduated from high school to list the teachers who mattered in his life, and he will reel off names. You ask a kid who dropped out, and he will not even understand the question. Relationships like that are beyond his experience.
Treating people “like cattle to be processed” sounds an awful lot like Universal Health Care, as does a longer school day/week/year which emulates the disparate culture of South Korea – a culture which very simply does not exalt the individual the way America does. Quite frankly, all this business of having to be more like other countries whose cultures are nothing like ours, is very off-putting fare. Is it too much to ask our President to demonstrate a little more love, understanding, and appreciation of this country?
“Relationships” are just not something that the government can force on people. This goal of turning teachers into surrogate parents (and “expanding nurse visits to disorganized homes”!) requires an unprecedented intrusion into our lives. How exactly, do we define “disorganized”? Perhaps the First Lady has the answer? The fact is, we can and do find teachers “who matter in our lives” without handing our children over to the State like little Kibbutzim.
How big an ego does Barack have to have to presume that we should be just like him, and raise our children kinda like he was raised anyway? Apparently we’re supposed to disregard the fact that his heroic mother also married a ne’er do well polygamist, whisked him away to Indonesia with her second husband, and then proceeded to ship him back to Hawaii to be cared for by his grandparents (and mentored by a Communist pervert in the form of Frank Marshall) while his early-rising mother remained behind. And call me a party pooper, but I don’t believe someone who spent 20 years soaking up Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons is the ideal sculptor of our children’s education, nor can I blithely disregard the fact that he worked on “education issues” with Bill Ayers and squandered millions of dollars in the process.
In any case, it should be noted that Barack did not live under rules that are anywhere near as stringent as those he would impose on the rest of us. Having mom get you up extra-early to study in the comfort of one’s home is one thing; shipping children off to school to endure very long hours (before going off to perform government mandated “universal service”!) is quite another. Of course, since his children go to private school, they would be exempt from all of daddy’s social engineering experiments. It was ever thus.
Clearly, these inconvenient truths do not occur to David Brooks – he’s too busy swooning to imagine the unintended consequences.
R.S. McCain provides his analysis - The Re-education of David Brooks