I’ve been pretty critical of our new President for reasons that should be obvious to regular readers of this blog and my Facebook page.
Upon occasion I have been asked if there is anything I like about the President and his policies. A fair question, and worthy of a genuine answer — as opposed to the typical back-handed slap such as — “I like that he is making Republicans popular again.”
For one thing, I appreciate both his public comments and his personal example of commitment to fatherhood. Given the statistics on divorce and abandonment — even given his own experience of growing up without a father present — he is proving to be a tremendous role model for all American fathers and future fathers, especially in minority communities where the rates of fatherlessness are tragically astronomical. His genuine affection for his wife and children is wonderful to behold.
Given my profound disagreements with the President about the role of government and the nature of man, which are reflected in completely different ways of viewing the world, finding areas of policy agreement is more difficult.
But there is one area where, at least so far, the President has pushed for improvements that would truly be helpful. While I fundamentally disagree with the federal government driving education policy, that is not likely to change, especially in a Democratic administration. So the good news is this — the President is driving education policy in the right direction in two significant ways, both of which put him at odds with his supporters in the teachers’ unions.
First, he is pushing for merit pay for teachers, an issue I championed during my run for office. Rewarding excellent teachers with excellent pay is necessary to attract and keep the best and brightest to the teaching profession, and I am delighted that the President has embraced this idea.
The second area of education reform where I am grateful for the President’s leadership is in his push for states to reduce obstacles to the growth of public charter schools, and his effort to increase funds for charter schools nationwide. Charter schools are producing excellent results here in Arizona and around the country, and provide additional choices for parents. Freed from some of the restrictions placed on standard public schools, charter schools have been able to provide innovative education, using non-unionized and non-certified teachers who produce outstanding classroom results.
President Obama’s push for excellent schools brought together two polar opposites — former Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Today they met in Tucson to bring national attention to one of the best performing public schools in the country — BASIS charter school, which also has a campus in Scottsdale. This tour is showing that liberals and conservatives can agree to celebrate and promote excellent schools, and change policy to support what actually works, regardless of political opposition.


  1. Len, your points are well taken, but what about the efforts of the White House to destroy the voucher program started in D.C. that was beginning to make a difference for so many inner city students.
    I think that his perspective is so warped by his education that he is a victim of his own belief system.

  2. A president that both loves and honors his wife is welcome is a good thing about Obama. This trait is a good example set by leadership. I also respect his practice of listening. It is obvious that he encourages his staff to follow that example. I also noticed a tone of international realism that has onset shortly after election. This is a sign of adaptability in the face of facts adverse to his preferred views. These features I respect in him. With such traits one can see an honorable person whether friend or foe on any specific issue.


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