The president likes to clothe his progressive beliefs in a comfortable toga of poll-tested generalities.
But on last week’s education “reform” tour, he stripped down to his ideological skivvies, oiled up his rhetoric, and flaunted his political power to enthralled academics, administrators and journalists.
He made clear that whoever has the gold writes the rules, to an audience of students and academics who know that 70 percent of students are funded by $150 billion in federal dollars.
“Taxpayers are often providing those families and students assistance, we want to make sure taxpayers are getting a good deal,” he said, while describing his ambitious plan to rate universities’ and colleges’ performance at a test to be drafted and graded by Obama’s progressive monitors.
Government expertise trumps the universities’ autonomy, and government’s priorities top Americans’ free-market preferences, Obama insisted.
“I’m in my second term so I can say it. … I believe, for example, that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three year. … The third year they’d be better off clerking or practicing in a firm, even if they weren’t getting paid that much,” said the president, who was acting as the nation’s law-school-dean-in-chief.
And also as the nation’s concerned-parent-in-chief.
“I know a lot of stories of people who are LGBT who come out to their parents, and their parents are supporting them financially for college, and when they come out their parents cut out that support,” said one of the attendees. “I was wondering if maybe in the future part of your affordability for college would be able to include LGBT people?”
“I don’t suspect that we’ll have special laws pertaining to young people who are cut off from support by their parents because their parents hadn’t gotten to the place I think they should be,” Obama said.
But, he added, “We are going to make sure that all young people get the support that they need so that if their parents aren’t willing to provide them support. … They’re able to still go to college and succeed,” he reassured the petitioner.
He also found time to worry about the nation’s toddlers.
“I want to expand early childhood education so that it’s accessible for every young person in America,” he declared. He referred to himself 111 times at the Binghamton event.
“I’m wondering if there’s any provisions within your educational act that would support health care workers and nurse practitioners to create a sustainable workforce,” said one eager questioner.
“You’re absolutely right that one of the keys to reducing our health care costs overall is recognizing the incredible value of advanced practice nurses and giving them more responsibilities,” responded America’s hospital-administrator-in-chief.
“There are some special programs for nurses who are committing themselves — as well as doctors who are committing themselves — to serving in underserved communities,” Obama said.