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Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 01/26/2010

Obama's teleprompter

By Valerie Strauss

In the category of “some folks will find any and every stupid little thing with which to bash President Obama:”

The commander in chief is being ridiculed by bloggers on the Internet over his use last week of a teleprompter when he went to an elementary school in Virginia to give a speech about his education program.

Obama went to Graham Road Elementary School last week to talk about “Race to the Top,” and while he was there, to have a talk with sixth graders.

The bloggers are accusing him of using the teleprompter to talk to the kids. Of course, any sixth grader who wasn’t there could figure out that that wasn’t what he did.

So, for the record, Obama spoke with the sixth graders and then made a detailed speech before the assembled media about his education reform program.

Race to the Top offers grants to states and school districts that change their education policies to conform with policies approved by the Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who accompanied Obama on the school visit. Obama announced that he will seek an expansion of the $4.3 billion program that would allow individual school districts to compete for the money.

It’s not exactly news that sixth graders would be especially interested in, but then again, he wasn’t really telling THEM about it.

He used the school as a backdrop because Graham Road has achieved high student achievement despite having a majority population of kids from low-income families.

One of the many problem with cheap shots--and surely these bloggers know that that is what they are taking--is that they take up time and space for serious criticism. And, as I’ve said before, there is plenty of room to hold Obama accountable for “Race to the Top,” which follows on the same path as No Child Left Behind’s era of high-stakes standardized tests.

As a presidential candidate, Obama blasted the Bush administration’s emphasis on standardized tests. Now he is not only continuing it but trying to link teacher evaluation to student test scores. University of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham calls that “a terrible idea” here and he is exactly right.

So enough about the teleprompter (and please, let nobody start anything over his expected teleprompter use during Wednesday's State of the Union address). Let’s stay focused on things that are real--and things that really matter.


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By Valerie Strauss  | January 26, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Private Schools, Race to the Top, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  President Obama, Race to the Top  
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This just proves that Obama is an empty suit. I guess he is afraid if he actually speaks off the cuff he will have another San Francisco moment.

Posted by: bobby20033 | January 26, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

With Goerge W., we saw the result of extemporaneous speaking. Give it a rest.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 26, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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