Education experts break down Obama’s speech

Patrick Gibbons

Dr. Jay P. Greene and Dr. Matthew Ladner, two education experts blogging on, applaud Obama for his speech on education, but hope he backs up the rhetoric with action and real reform.

Dr. Matthew Ladner (vice president of research at the Goldwater Institute and policy fellow at the Nevada Policy Research Institute) critiques and criticizes President Obama’s idea that everyone should attend college. Ladner notes that fewer than 30 percent of all jobs in 2004 even required a college degree.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jay P. Greene (University of Arkansas) criticizes President Obama’s speech, noting he emphasized great ideas, like merit pay for teachers, but argues that Obama’s speech doesn’t reflect his legislative agenda. Dr. Greene wonders why, if charter schools and merit pay for teachers are so important, does Obama’s legislative agenda push more spending on school construction and more funding for Head Start-both of which generate no long-term gains in student achievement.

Of course, Obama also made no mention of the attempt by Congress to kill the D.C. voucher program, which offers scholarships to low-income students to attend private schools of their parents’ choice.