The bee in Joe Scarborough’s bonnet this morning? This story — “Obama’s $10 Billion Promise Stirs Hope In Early Education” — and the accompanying photo (Obama smiling, seated in a preschool classroom) on the front page of the New York Times. Here, one of the five times Scarborough mentioned it this morning:
SCARBOROUGH: I criticize the media for not being tough on Barack Obama…I owe New York Times a big apology. They held him to task today. If you look at the top headline, I can’t believe they are writing this, at least one newspaper is being tough on this man, Obama stirring great hope for education.. Yes, he is. I read this headline and my hands are shaking, Obama stirring great hope.
MARK HALPERIN: It doesn’t say he’s delivering. ..
SCARBOROUGH:… only stirring it, Mark.
According to the Times story, “many advocates are atremble with anticipation over Mr. Obama’s espousal of early childhood education.” It’s potentially a very big deal (“the $10 billion Mr. Obama has pledged for early childhood education would amount to the largest new federal initiave for young children since Head Start began in 1965.”) One can understand the hopeful anticipation that the Times reporter, Sam Dillion, found among those involved in early childhood education. To Scarborough’s point (I think), where’s the buzzkill “to be sure” paragraph in this piece? Where the reporter reminds readers that These Are Promises. Made By a Campaigning Politician (albeit one who truly does seem to hold early childhood education as a high priority). Confronting now a recession and so many larger (adult) hands also held out hopefully ($700 billion for banks. $10 billion for babies…) Hopefully the Times will also front-page what becomes of these promises. Keep in touch with these “advocates atremble with anticipation” and report back.
Speaking of reporting on how might we improve education, for extra credit read Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in this week’s New Yorker on how “the school system has a quarterback problem:”
There are certain jobs where almost nothing you can learn about candidates before they start predicts how they’ll do once they’re hired. So how do we know whom to choose in cases like that? In recent years, a number of fields have begun to wrestle with this problem, but none with such profound social consequences as the profession of teaching.
Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.