Sunday, April 25, 2010

Then There's Obama, the Inspirer-in-Chief

The Detroit Free Press dedicated an entire Sunday section page to fawning about President Obama’s appearance commencement address to University of Michigan graduates today in Ann Arbor. The Freep’s jump headline indicates what the readers are in for. “U-M GRADUATES-TO-BE TELL PRESIDENT: EXCITE US, ENGAGE US -- AND TELL US THE TRUTH.”

Last year, when President Barack Obama's commencement addresses drew protests at the University of Notre Dame and Arizona State University, Rebekah Sharpe was spurred to action. She figured if Obama was invited to the 2010 commencement at the University of Michigan, the reception would be different., 'He will be welcomed with open arms,' " said Sharpe, who is graduating with a degree in communications. (“U-M grads want Obama to inspire -- and knock OSU”).

There’s no clue offered about exactly to what particular action Ms. Sharpe was spurred that will would guarantee Obama an even more unctuous welcome in Ann Arbor than he would already get. Maybe she’s the one who suggested to the Free Press sending him a full-page valentine signed by U-M grads.

Anyway, Ms. Sharpe, whom we note is graduating with a “degree in communications,” may have overlooked all those news reports about how Obama actually was welcomed at Notre Dame with open arms, which was exactly the reason for the protests.

Then Sheri Jankelovitz, a 22-year-old secondary education major from West Bloomfield, said that,

As a future educator, I am hoping Obama speaks about his plan to reform the education system in this country. He has spoken of recruiting new teachers and finding new ways to reward outstanding teachers and I wish to hear concrete plans as to how this will occur. Obama has also spoken of reforming No Child Left Behind, and actually attempting to support schools who need help, rather than shutting them down. Well, with Detroit now being one of the biggest cities hit by this issue, I hope that Obama will address this, using tangible ideas to map out how he plans to fix this growing problem. This is an issue that affects not just me as a future teacher, but all those in the graduating class who plan on sending their children to these schools in the future.

Now who says education degrees are a joke? As still only a future member of a teachers union, Ms. Jankelovitz has already made her very own every myth about why America’s public schools in general stink -- and Detroit’s school system stinks in particular -- as if she already had been a dues-paying public-school teacher for 30 years. She hasn’t even got her first teaching job yet and already she believes there aren’t enough teachers, there’s not enough money being spent on public education, that the President has been shutting down failing schools, and that all these red herrings explain the scandal of the Detroit Public School system.

Okay, it’s easy to pick on young people. When I was 22, it had been a year since I cast my first presidential vote for Jimmy Carter, and I still didn’t realize what I had done. I didn’t even have a liberal arts degree as an excuse.

My gripe is with the Free Press, not that I think we should expect better.

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