McCain ad on Education

This ad features a number of statements on Barrack Obama’s track record on education. I wanted to analyze each claim and vet the validity of their message.

1. Education Weekly 3/7/2007, “Hasn’t made a significant mark on education.”

Analysis:This statement was in regard to Obama’s legislative history in Illinois. The surrounding article also speaks to Barrack’s early involvement in a project to improve and assess student achievement in low-income public schools. Though the project failed to improve the standardized testing scores, it seemed to educate Obama on where the focus may better be need, in more quality faculty and administration. Unfortunately, his subsequent legislation introduced before Congress were never shown the light of day thanks to a formerly Republican controlled majority.

Comment: They may not have been misquoting the source, but without the context of where this applies and what he has done since, it seems a tad misleading.

2. Washington Post, 7/7/2008, “Elusive”

Analysis: The full paragraph is:

Encouraging Mr. Obama and his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, to debate these questions is a laudable aim of the group. Education was backstage during the primaries, and a clear picture has yet to emerge of either candidate’s positions. Mr. McCain has not been forthcoming with any detailed plan; he is said to be preparing one for the fall. Mr. Obama as the New York Times’ David Brooks recently observed, has promised dozens of crowd-pleasing programs but has been elusive on such thorny issues as teacher tenure and school accountability.

Comment: I guess David Brooks speaks for everyone on his level of satisfaction with teacher tenure and accountability but it is hard to compare plans when McCain keeps his ideas until he thinks we are ready for them. I wonder if it is better to be elusive or secretive when trying to make changes in education policy.

3. Chicago Tribune, 7/20/2008. “Staunch defender of the existing public school monopoly”

Analysis: In this op-ed piece, Steve Chapman outlines why he feels Obama and McCain differ on education plans. I grew suspicious when he described McCain’s voucher plan as, “new and daring.” Unfortunately, the voucher concept has been around for some time and has yet to be seen as successful.

4. SB99. “Comprehensive sex education”

Analysis: The hook in this is that the bill set guidelines for any school who had a sex education program. In doing so they covered K-12 and the spin doctors morphed that to mean that Obama wants to teach your children about sex before they can read. The unfortunate part of this is that Arizona’s guidelines are equally as welcoming to sex education for K-12 and go so far as to outline what percentage of the class time can be allowed.

Comment: This jab is not only misleading but pandering to the “cultural core” of voters who equate sex education with something vile and immoral. Personally speaking, having been educated in a public school, I didn’t have a formal sex education session until 8th grade. Granted I had been taught rudimentary biology and anatomy, the curriculum was not as detailed as one would hope. It is of note to see that abstinence is featured as the most effective form of prevention in both Arizona and Illinois. Not to be fickle but the McCain campaign should be rather careful treading on the moral high ground regarding sex education with the recent unexpected teen pregnancy looming so close to their platform.

On a side note, I really wish McCain would dust himself off from this morality dive that he has plunged headlong into.  The religious right’s ability to demonize the human body and sexual acts not fitting into their definition of spiritual is clouding the ability of the public to rationally make decisions on their actions.  i laughed at a European friend’s reaction to the AT&T commercial in which an American family is shocked by the lewd Spanish beaches and the nude bodies.  This is a fair comparison to the tangential issue bending which the RNC and Karl Rove have made their new “act.”  This sort of pandering is childish and should be looked upon with shame.  It’s sad that the Republican party can feel pristine joy in nonchalantly using the victims of 9/11 to empower their convention and party line but turn their noses up at the thought of  dealing rational about educating children on their own bodies and personal responsibility…

…never mind I think I just answered my own question.