Thursday, October 29, 2009

What do you think of this?

I ran across this article today. It took me a while to figure out why it bothered me so much, even though I agreed with many of the proposals.

Bob Compton Launches `Children4Change` Site to Help Americans Support Positive Education Reform

Online, Grassroots Organization Will Give Parents and Other Interested Parties Both Knowledge and a Voice to Advocate for Improvement in Their Children`s Education

INDIANAPOLIS--(Business Wire)--
Global entrepreneur, investor and education expert Bob Compton announces today the release of a new, online, grassroots organization called This organization is designed to inform and mobilize American parents and other concerned citizens in support of President Obama`s education agenda.

Am I the only one that thinks it is a little creepy that they linked parental involvement in education with support of President Obama's education agenda? First of all, I sincerely doubt that most parents have the slightest idea what President Obama's agenda is past a campaign slogan. When a parent gets involved with education, they are doing it to support their children, not a politician or a "agenda."

It goes on:

The creator of several documentary films on education, including the widely-viewed Two Million Minutes, Compton has observed that parents and others in favor of education improvement want to know how they, personally, can advocate for change. Compton sought a way to organize American parents as a force to support their children, as students, and decided to utilize 21st-century communication tactics to give these parents a voice. allows parents and other interested parties to opt-in for notifications - via email, phone or both - regarding education reform events, legislative actions and opportunities to communicate with government leaders regarding education decisions - all tailored to their geographic location. For instance, if the state legislature in Indiana is voting on an education-related bill next week, will alert all members located in Indiana of the opportunity to contact their government leaders regarding the vote. The organization also allows members to sign petitions which are sent directly and immediately to these political leaders, effectively simplifying this process for concerned parents who might not otherwise have the time or resources to provide this type of feedback.

"I wanted a means to assist concerned American citizens in supporting education reform to benefit today`s students," said Compton. " provides the necessary tools to give people a voice to speak on behalf of positive changes in education for their children." will be debut in Indianapolis, Ind. with the ultimate goal of expanding it across the nation. The site already features an open letter to President Obama, voicing support for his education agenda. Interested parties can sign the letter, which will be then sent to the President. For more information on the organization please visit

So, what's with this "we are getting involved to support Obama" theme?

After some more reading, I realized why the Children for Change website begins with a letter to President Obama. Bob Compton must presuppose that the federal government has the responsibility for the education of children. Mobilizing parents to sign petitions and write government leaders also presupposes that the parents are not responsible for the education of their children, but that ultimately the government is the authority.

The more that the government legislatures educational policy, the less power parents will have on a local level to control the quality and type of education their children will receive. What a brilliant ruse. Con parents into thinking they are helping improve their children's education by signing a petition or sending a form letter to a politician.

Parents can feel good about doing nothing substantive about their children's education while politicians make all the decisions. This is the kind of policy that the anointed* love. (*The "anointed" is a term coined by Thomas Sowel in his book, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.)

(I'm not saying that it is a bad idea to write your congressman, but that it will not bring result quickly enough to benefit your child in a poorly run school system. Your kid will be long gone before some government program will take effect.)

While I'm not a fan of the American government schools, I am a fan of the American education system which gives me the freedom to homeschool my children. This freedom could too easily disappear if parents get on the "President Obama can fix education" bandwagon.

Putting an "education agenda" and any politician's name in the same sentence is not a good plan. An approach to education that relies heavily on the government is a disaster waiting to happen.

Technorati Tags : Obama\'s education agenda , Bob Compton , , homeschool


Spunky said...

No you're not the only one. Children are a commodity to be used as the state needs, so it is not surprising at all that they'd be used here.

People who exploit children for their own gain, have a similar mind as those of who approve of death panels for unborn babies. It's all about them and their needs first. I run the other way when a politician tells me he is doing this "for the children."

Bob Compton, Exec Producer 2 Million Minutes said...

Sorry you found the idea "creepy" to support a freely elected Presidents' agenda to raise our children's education to the level they will need to have a job in the 21st century.
The President and Indiana's Education Agenda is:

1)deliver a world class curriculum
2)recruit the best teachers
3)pay teachers for superior performance
4)no limits on alternative schools of any kind
5) hold teacher's accountable.

For Home Schoolers I built a low-cost online math education program to bring our kids up the the level of math learned in India, China,Brazil, Singapore and Russia.

Between my films and my math education system I have spent $2.4 million to help American children compete.

Perhaps I have wasted my money and 10 years of my life. At least as a citizen, I have tried to treat others the the way I would want to be treated.

With apologies to you,

Sebastian said...

Wow, Mr. Compton got touchy fast.
How about this.
1) Deliver a curriculum tailored for the student's strengths, weaknesses and passions.
2) Recruit teachers based on their knowledge of the subject matter, not theoretical subject methods classes. Recruit and license teachers with degrees and experience in science, math, history etc rather than students who spend their undergrad years learning from professors of education who spend little time actually teaching students.

I like 3-5 but doubt that it will come to fruition given the influence that the NEA and AFT have on democratic politics.

I didn't see anyone suggestion that Mr. Compton had wasted the last decade. What I did see was a question that supporting the president's proposal equated to something that was going to bring about anything like the five point agenda listed. Everyone can agree on goals like raising education and creating safe schools. But this is the same rhetoric that was used to pass the bipartisan bill that was NCLB. The devil, unfortunately, is in the details.

I don't know that we would even agree on what a world class curriculum is, let alone how to deliver it in a way that students learned such a set of subjects.

I'm glad that Mr. Compton ended with an apology. I think that Mr. Cate deserves one. He questioned something that seemed off and got pounced on in reply.

Sebastian said...

I'm sorry. I realized too late that this post was from Mrs. Cate, not Mr. Cate.

Janine Cate said...

Mr Compton,

I must admit I am a bit surprised by your response.

I'm assuming, since you didn't mention it in your comment, that you do indeed support education reform as a function of the federal government, and that you see politicians in general, and President Obama specifically as the means to make that happen.

This is probably the only major point on which we disagree.

I would generally support anyone who will take on the waste and corruption of the teachers' unions (and you do have five great education slogans). However, I question the wisdom of empowering the federal government to provide any function outside of those outlined in the constitution.

Any program, even one that gets apparently good short-term results, can be bad if it encourages dependency on government programs or some other patron, like yourself. Each generation get progressively weaker and less able to care for itself. Each generation is more easily manipulated by politicians who promise to provide what should have been the responsibility of the individual, community, or (as a last resort) state government.

Call me cynical, but I find it hard to believe that President Obama, has an "Education Agenda" outside of his own grab for power and possible re-election.

So, by all means, continue to do good in the fight for education reform. I can't personally support your efforts as long as it is tied to the aggrandizement of a politician or undermines the principles of good self-government.

Janine Cate said...

Spunky and Sebastian,

Thanks for your comments.

Bob Compton, Exec Producer 2 Million Minutes said...

Dear Janine,

I guess we each are trying our best to do what we can to help American children receive a world-class education.

Perhaps my approach is wrong and yours is right. I'm just trying to help the next generation as best I know how.