Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Two Cents

I spent at least 4 minutes writing this thing for an internet forum I participate in, so I thought I ought to give it a second audience. I had previously mentioned that I take issue with Obama's lack of respect for the family. Someone asked what I meant, since Obama and Biden officially don't support gay marriage.

My beef with Obama's family policies are primarily in his education plan. For instance:

"Zero to Five Plan: The Obama-Biden comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama and Biden will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state "zero to five" efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school."

Parents already believe that preschool is better than not. That may be true if the alternate is daycare. It is NOT true if the alternate is a mother. So, all of these mothers send their kids to preschool (many of them sacrificing other things in order to afford it) when actually they would be a better option. (One on one is better than 3 of 20.) I realize that there are parents who are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, and thus can't dedicate the time to parenting they might like, and that is why I support headstart programs, however I oppose programs that will make parents believe (falsely) that the government can do a better job educating their children. Especially if they are trying to tell them that they should have your children from infancy. That makes me want to slug somebody. (Disclaimer: there are many reasons to send a child to preschool, and in some cases it is a good option. I only take issue with the belief that preschool can educate better than mothers. It is not true.)

Also, this statement:

"From the moment our children step into a classroom, the single most important factor in determining their achievement is their teacher" (found multiple times on Barack's site) goes a long way discounting the role of the family. Not to mention that it's a big fat lie. As a teacher and a mother and a daughter, the single most important factor to a child's achievement is their parents. Ask any teacher, they will agree. Teachers have a lot of power, but not nearly as much as even the father who left the family and doesn't pay child support, let alone the parents who help their children with homework.

I am glad that Obama has decided that he can give up what I suspect are his true belief's regarding gay marriage in order to get the independent vote. However, I'm thinking that gay marriage is most likely to come from the supreme court, not congress. Therefore, I'm not liking voting for someone who will appoint judges that will most likely have an easier time acting on their belief in gay marriage than someone who has to get elected.

Lastly, I feel that his policies on women will nudge women out of the home needlessly. As an optimist recently coming from the bubble, I like to think that the great majority of the unequal numbers of women vs. men in the workplace come because women have a natural understanding that it's really important for them to be mothers. I'm sure some of the discrepency comes from discrimination, etc., but I think there are few women CEO's because women decide it's not worth giving up their family to work 90 hours a week to get to the top. And good for them. (And good for the men who make the same decision.) Having the government throw money at that "problem" would, I think, convince women to give up that natural righteous feeling and give up their greatest blessing for money. It's not the government's place to make sure women raise their children, but I also think it's wrong for them to pay women to let the government raise them in their behalf.



Blogger Becca said...

you always nail it right on the head - well done.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Being married to Talyn helps me realize the importance of knowing the issues and fulfilling your responsibility to vote. So, go vote!

1:14 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

It's so scary how much the government wants to take over. Anybody who knows anything about history should know that too much government control of things leads to disaster, but we just don't seem to be able to learn that lesson.

3:24 PM  
Blogger breckster said...

I love you, and I'm not picking a fight but as one of the few liberals who read your blog I thought I'd add my counter opinion. (to both yours and mom's great sadness.)

You motivated me to read both McCain's plan (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/read.aspx?guid=3883232c-bdeb-44e5-9387-22d1316e75ed) and Obama's plan (http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/PreK-12EducationFactSheet.pdf)
and I have to agree with Obama on this one. I think Obama's plan does more to promote families then McCain's does. McCain plans to put more money into the existing programs which already don't focus on the family. The important words in Obama's blurb are "support to young children and their PARENTS," and "voluntary." I won't send Reuben to Head Start, but would consider going to the Harlem Children's Zone Baby College which is targeted to the poverty stricken minority population of central Harlem, not not to a low-income student who just need a little extra help right now and plans to pay it all back in taxes once we start making money. http://www.hcz.org/programs/the-hcz-project
Geoffery Canada started the HCZ because he saw the difference between middle and upper class surberbia child rearing, and low-income child rearing. The infant class has the children play while the teacher trains the parents how to be better parents. There is all kinds of research to show that there are windows of learning that are open in that 0 to 5 and the things that don't get learned in that time are VERY difficult to learn later in life. (listen to the Act on Canada in the This American Life Episode #364: Going Big). Not all families think to read to their children, or provide a safe environment during work hours, teach them the rules of social interaction, stimulate them, or provide positive reinforcement. That isn't going to change unless there is a place to provide support to those parents and their children. I would disagree with mandated school for 0 to 5, but I think there should be something offered to those families who can't afford the private preschools.

Neither Obama or McCain are talking about the already high achieving students when the discuss the changes they plan to make to the education system. So, it really is the teacher who will have the most impact because the under-achieving students don't have the family support they need. Since we can't reform the family, we can reform education. They both have plans that will help get better teachers, and compensate teachers for the hard work that they do, and honestly I think Obama's education plan over-all is more feasible and will address more needs. McCain does say they will put more choice in the parent's hands (including home school) but I thought you thought that would hurt the education system more than it would help the families.

You got me on the gay marriage and the supreme court justice. And we already know that both candidates support committed relationship rights of gay couples.

I think the tax break for the low-income and middle class does more to get the mothers back in the home then policies on women get them out. When you don't have enough money to put food on the table but you believe you should work and be self-sufficient the only choice is for the mothers to work to make more money. When we were living on my pay check I only got to bring home 60% of my income after taxes and insurance. Had I been paid what I was worth 60% would have been enough for a very modest life in Utah, but I wasn't paid what I was worth, and that was partly because I am a woman. When Justin is finally done with school and working we will need as much as possible from that pay check. I am willing to pay for my privilege to live here, but I think there would be less demand on the government if those of us who are working hard to make ends meat by doing so.

I don't agree with Obama on abortion. I don't agree with Obama on Biden. But, the things I don't agree with McCain on are more of my important issues, health care and defense for example.

Now, will you tell my how McCain is diminishing the family so I can read up more on him?

4:46 PM  
Blogger Talyn said...

Brecken, you're allowed not to agree. That's mostly why I write these so I have to study up more so I can respond to people who disagree. (Plus occasionally people who disagree are right.)

1. I was thinking after I wrote this about how I said I support head start. It turns out that's not true. I don't oppose head start. That's as positive as I can get. Your baby college sounds more like McCain's promise of "Parental education and involvement" than Obama's 0-5 plan. I can fully support a program that brings parents and children together to educate both of them. You are right, there are parents who don't know what to do to help. The way to fix that, however, is not to replace the parents (which is what I see Obama doing), but to educate them. So, it looks like we agree, and McCain almost sorta supports us. Obama, although on the page you showed says he's supporting children and their parents does not give any plan other than providing child care and preschool to do so.

I'm worried even about voluntary 0-5, because people start to believe it's necessary to give their children a leg up, when really it's not necessary, and not even good for many families who have educated stay at home mothers such as you and I or our mother, no matter our income.

Truthfully, I like Obama's k-12 education plan better than McCain's. (Not as a conservative or a parent, but as a teacher.) However, he could have EASILY said "From the moment our children step into a classroom, their teacher is a crucially important factor in determining their achievment." Thus supporting teachers, and not discounting parents and families. The fact is, he didn't. He's had plenty of time to make sure his website reflects his true feelings. So, if we take him at his word, he thinks teachers are more important that parents.

Don't assume that low achieving students do not have support at home. Many low achievers have loads of support, only school is hard for them. They have learning disabilities, or they are slow learners, or they learn in a non-traditional ways. In those cases we need parents and teachers to be supported in the hard hard work they do. We don't need politicians to tell us it's primarily the teacher's fault or primarily the teacher's success. It's not.

Do you really think you were paid less because you are a woman? What makes you think that? I agree you weren't paid what you were worth, I just wonder how you came to the conclusion of why. (In honest curiosity, not skeptical sarcasm.)

I agree that taxes should be lowered, and that would help families, bus as I understand the economy it has to be matched with decreased spending, not increased taxes for the rich, or decreased value of the dollar due to increased debt. I'm not one to believe that trickle down will solve poverty, but I sure believe that taxing the pants off of rich people will hurt poor people more than help them. That's how they loose their jobs. That's how they find it hard to get a car loan (because the rich people put their money over seas). That's how the charitable organizations have less to help with. That's how peopel end up dependent on the government. Plus, I don't really believe that he will decrease taxes. He hasn't shown any tendency toward doing so.

I'm not voting for McCain, although I hope he wins. Ah, the benefits of living in Utah.

Thanks, that was fun!

6:29 PM  

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