Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More agenda items

Blue Collar Muse pulls this quote from a July 2 speech by Barak Obama:

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
For some reason I can't post my questions over there so I'll ask here:

What 'national security objectives'???

And who is the 'we' that's doing the setting of those objectives??

And why can't the military achieve those unknown objectives??

Ken and his posters have a lot more questions.

According to the Chicago Tribune the context is community service. But there's service and then there's well...indentured servitude or worse. Servitude is something you'd think a black man would be really sensitive about--especially after sitting under the teachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright for so long.
[Obama] said he would make federal assistance conditional on school districts establishing service programs and set the goal of 50 hours of service a year for middle school and high school students.

For college students, Obama would set the goal at 100 hours of service a year and create a $4,000 annual tax credit for college students tied to that level of service.
We can't keep them in school now, you're going to force them to provide community service too? I'm beginning to think the first wave of this 'civilian national security force' may be truancy officers.

And why do school districts have to establish service programs? Don't we have enough organizations already available for these students to plug into? Oh yeah, that pesky separation of church and state myth would be a problem. Can't mandate a student work in the church soup kitchen in order for the school district to keep those federal dollars coming in.

Then throw in the new vision the incoming AFT President Randi Weingarten has for our schools:

“Can you imagine a federal law that promoted community schools — schools that serve the neediest children by bringing together under one roof all the services and activities they and their families need?” Ms. Weingarten asked in the speech.

“Imagine schools that are open all day and offer after-school and evening recreational activities and homework assistance,” she said. “And suppose the schools included child care and dental, medical and counseling clinics.” NY Times

and we might as well just hand them over right after birth---if we'll be trusted much longer to conceive and carry to term.

Finally, I'll leave you with this quote of Barak Obama's from that same NY Times article as he addressed the recent National Education Association convention:

“These children are our children,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s time we understood that their education is our responsibility.

“I am running for president to guarantee that all of our children have the best possible chance in life,” he said, “and I am tired of hearing you, the teachers who work so hard, blamed for our problems.”

My problem is I don't have $10,000 for extracurricular activities.


N.S. Allen said...

I really don't understand why I keep seeing those quotes about high school and college service programs referenced as if they were anything but voluntary.

Obviously, tying public school funding to the creation of service programs does pretty much guarantee that the programs will have to be created. But I've heard no talk of making participation in them mandatory, which, considering the widely varying situations of public school students, would be politically and functionally impossible.

(And I would wager that the programs created would actually focus primarily on funneling student interest towards existing service opportunities - the vast majority of in-school service groups I saw during my high school days were just that.)

As for the tax credit for college kids, it's pretty hard to claim that offering an incentive for a voluntary activity constitutes "servitude." I suppose one could argue that aspiring college students in need of money shouldn't be helped out in exchange for doing good works in the community, but that still doesn't make the program itself "servitude."

So, yeah, I can understand policy disagreement - having only heard the bare bones, I'm not sure I like the sound of the high school program, myself - but the servitude bit just sounds like hyperbole to me.

Buckley said...

Yeah, not sure if you're confused or spinning. "Establishing a program with a goal of..." is not the same as mandating every student to do that. For example, some federal money is given for establishing equity in girls athletics (Title IX). That doesn't mean they yank the money if there are fewer female athletes. It certainly doesn't mean a girl is a slave to the athletic program. It just means the programs should be there and the district should strive for equity. If the district doesn't set up any athletic opportunities for girls, it can lose federal funding.

BTW, guess which Presidential candidate said this:

If we are to have a resurgence of patriotic service in this country, then programs like AmeriCorps must be expanded and changed in ways that inspire the nation. There should be more focus on meeting national goals and on making short-term service, both civilian and military, a rite of passage for young Americans.