[Guest post by Caroline Grannan, plus a video of George Carlin explaining things to us. – P.P.]
President Obama is wrong to slough off the growing concern and outrage and pigheadedly defend Race to the Top. If he can't come up with a better case than he made in his July 29 speech to the National Urban League, it's impossible to see how he can keep on speaking up for it.
This section of his speech calls for a sharp response.
"...there's a concern that Race to the Top doesn't do enough for minority kids..." No, that's not the concern. The concern is that Race to the Top will aggressively harm minority kids. "...because the argument is, well, if there's a competition, then somehow some states or some school districts will get more help than others...." Yes, that is the argument, or a watered-down version of it. More to the point, that a "competition" by definition has winners and losers. Which kids are we going to brand "losers" and give up on altogether? And while Obama states the argument with reasonable accuracy, he doesn't even attempt to rebut it. Instead, he insults us by veering off into irrelevancies. And insulting his listeners and his critics is nothing compared with shrugging off the damage RTTT will do to the "losers." " Let me tell you, what's not working for black kids and Hispanic kids and Native American kids across this country is the status quo. That's what's not working." And does that justify a "let's give whatever we can think of a shot, no matter what damage it may cause" attitude? Because that is what RTTT is. For a lawyer and a smart, eloquent man, Obama makes a pathetic case for his signature program. It's increasingly obvious that he's defending the indefensible.
From George Carlin’s “Life is Worth Losing,” broadcast live on HBO on November 5, 2005.