A Failing Grade Calls For Parental Involvement

Bush Administration, Iraq War

I don’t know what it was like at Andover, but in my public school education I took a number of tests and quizzes. Never was it possible to earn a passing grade without getting the right answer on most of the questions.

That was particularly true if you hadn’t gotten any answer for more than half of the questions, say 10 out of 18.

That was true even if a very generous teacher gave partial credit on some of the ones you did answer. That was true even if, for three of the 18, the teacher essentially gave you credit for writing your name, the date and the name of the class at the top of the page.

And, while I did once have a math teacher who wryly described his tests as “opportunities,” as in “an opportunity to improve your grade”, I don’t think even he would have been so mordant as to describe a big red “F” at the top of a graded exam as “a cause for optimism.”

Luckily for Mr. Bush, the press grades easier than the most generous teacher. A quick sampling of wire service and TV coverage of his report on Iraq suggests that it was a “mixed” report. (Little Jimmy, remember that word for next time: that paper with the red marks all over it, the one with the big “F” on it, it’s not a failure, it’s “mixed.”)

But as Fred Kaplan notes at Slate, the administration definition of what counts as “satisfactory” is ridiculous. Not even the most desperate schoolboy would try to claim credit as they do. Unless, as with Mr. Bush, the alternative was a big fat zero.

This wasn’t a “mixed” report. This was documented, outrageous failure.

A parent confronted with a test result like this would certainly decide that something had to change. Despite little Georgie’s protestations that he’s got it under control, a grade like this can’t be acceptable. It’s time to stop letting Georgie determine his own study policy. Adults must take charge.

The House has taken the first step.

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  1. Gordon  •  Jul 13, 2007 @12:11 pm

    What’s his NCLB line: “the soft bigotry of low expectations”?

  2. upyernoz  •  Jul 13, 2007 @1:10 pm

    what i love about the report is how reading it gives the overall impression of damning the entire iraq project with faint praise.

  3. Swami  •  Jul 13, 2007 @5:00 pm

    a cause for optimism”,? …LOL

    I read the report, and on one of the benchmarks that they fell short on, they had the gaul to say..” Gee, Sharing oil revenues among all Iraqis really shouldn’t a benchmark”.

    Poor Bush got an unfair benchmark..but the oil revenue is going to determine the power and or peace or war.

  4. VJB  •  Jul 13, 2007 @7:38 pm

    When our kids were in grade school, the teachers who knew they had blown off our kids hid under their desks when we came to call. The ones who liked our kids or had real issues we needed to address welcomed us once we got to know one another. There’s a very real difference between those who phone it in and those who have the children’s good at heart. We wanted objective opinion about how our kids really were doing in school. Didn’t want to get blown off. If our kids deserved to be taken to the woodshed, then fine. Same with the gummint we are saddled with. They’re not my kids, I assure you.

  5. Doug Hughes  •  Jul 13, 2007 @8:46 pm

    Let’s look at the basics and see if it tells us why Johnny is failing.

    There is NOT a military solution.

    Any chance of a political solution requires revenue & power sharing, and the majority government must stop beating up on (or allowing) the Sunis to be victimized.

    The Majority likes having power & money after being beaten up on for decades and they have NO intention of letting up on the Sunis, even under threat of the US picking up its marbles and going home.

    Again, there is NO military answer, and the majority has no incentive to provide a political solution. The civil war is no problem for the majority because they figure eventually they will win. They are doing fine with our help, and if we leave, Iran will back them. Al Quaeda is a Suni organization; they will probably find things tougher in Iraq after we are gone than they are now.

    The argument that if we leave Al Quaeda will take over is silly. That’s not to say the surviving governement there will be healty, responsible or sane – but neither is ours. So what.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 14, 2007 @7:24 am

    Only those who are afraid for their hide’s, will try to hide what is seen by all as truth…
    2 + 2 = 4 is a universally accepted answer. 2 + 2 = “What I say it is,” is not a correct answer. But, then again, this mis-administration doesn’t believe in science, either…
    Truthiness > Truth…
    Arrogance > Competence.
    Stupidity > Knowledge.
    ‘Nuff said…

  7. Swami  •  Jul 14, 2007 @12:50 pm

    Speaking of school and quizes…

    POP QUIZ… For 25 points.. Topic: Presidential Sincerity

    A.. ” How weak and fruitless any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you with the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom”

    B.. ” We weep and we mourn”

    Which President is full of feigned sincerity Lincoln (a) or Bush (b)?