President Obama hosted an education roundtable at the White House on Monday and I’ll give you one chance to guess who wasn’t high on the guest list.
Below is a list of people who were invited to the event, which was described on the president’s schedule this way:
“The President hosts an education roundtable with business leaders, Secretary Duncan, Melody Barnes, and America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and Founding Chair General Colin Powell.”
The invitees, according to a news release from the White House, include:
· Marguerite Kondracke, president & CEO, America’s Promise
· Alma Powell, chairwoman, America’s Promise
· General Colin Powell, founding chairman, America’s Promise
· Craig Barrett, former president & CEO, Intel
· Glenn Britt, CEO, Time Warner Cable
· Steve Case, former chairman & CEO, America Online
· Brian Gallagher, president & CEO, United Way Worldwide
· William Green, president & CEO, Accenture
· Fred Humphries, senior vice president, Microsoft
· Rhonda Mimms, foundation president, ING
· Kathleen Murphy, president, Fidelity Personal Investments
· Ed Rust, CEO, State Farm
· Randall Stephenson, chairman & CEO, AT&T
· Bill Swanson, chairman & CEO, Raytheon
· Laysha Ward, foundation president, Target
· David Zaslav, president & CEO, Discovery Communications
· Former governor Bob Wise, president, Alliance for Excellent Education
· Anne Finucane, chair of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Bank of America
What’s more, new initiatives worth, collectively, more than $100 million were being announced in conjunction with the roundtable that will supposedly help keep kids in school, help bridge the achievement gap, etc., among them:
*America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation Community Impact Fund will raise $50 million to support the goal of ending the dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and careers, the release said.
* Microsoft Education is putting $15 million into research and development for immersive learning technologies, including game-based instruction and the creation of a lifelong learning digital archive, the release said.
The president would have been better off talking to these people about job creation than education reform, not only because they aren’t the right people to be talking to about improving classroom dynamics, but also because employing the unemployed with kids has been shown to improve educational outcomes.
It would certainly do more to help education than any of the high-stakes test-based reform policies that we have seen in the past decade, stretching over the administrations of president George W. Bush and Obama.
There’s no reason not to believe that Obama personally has respect for teachers and the hard job that they have. The problem is that his policies don’t show it, and education roundtables with corporate leaders serve only to underscore that sad reality. America’s CEOs have enough problems keeping their own businesses running. They should leave education to educators.
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