Friday, October 7, 2011

President Obama Spins Another Tall Tale

Washington DC, Oct 7, 2011. President Barack Hussein Obama, D-Kenya, spun a work of creative nonfiction yesterday in his latest pitch for his jobs plan, fudging the facts of a Boston schoolteacher’s "White House visit" as he portrayed the man as a poster boy for his jobs bill.

“I had a chance to meet a young man named Robert Baroz,” the president said at a midday news conference. “He’s got two decades of teaching experience. He’s got a master’s degree. He’s got an outstanding track record of helping his students make huge gains in reading and writing. 

In the last few years, he’s received three pink slips because of budget cuts. Why wouldn’t we want to pass a bill that puts somebody like Robert back in the classroom teaching our kids?”

There are two problems with this. First of all, Obama never met Baroz. And secondly, Baroz remains happily employed. He did get three pink slips in the past four years due to budget cuts, but each time his job was saved by additional spending bills.

"Just shut up and pass the bill"
It's really interesting that the President wanted to stress Baroz's skills in his tall tale. Because in Boston his skills really don't matter. His union seniority does. Obama seems to be implying "we are losing a great teacher due to budget cuts"... when the truth is "we are losing a good teacher due to his lack of union seniority."

The budget cuts just would have made him the first to go. The School Board does not have the option to fire the worst teachers and keep the best ones. They must fire the last ones hired first.

So the President seems be saying that we should never fire any teacher. No matter what the budget situation is. Whether this is a sound policy you can decide for yourself.

President Obama did have a chance to meet Baroz, but they never actually met. The closest Baroz actually got to Obama was the front row of a Rose Garden press conference on the jobs bill in September, with a handful of other teachers. He later met with White House aides and Obama’s education chief, but never met the president.

White House spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm said: “The President highlighted the story of a great Boston teacher who is not in the classroom today because his school, like so many across the country is facing a budget crunch. If Congress will pass the American Jobs Act, then we can put thousands of teachers like Mr. Baroz back in the classroom.” 

Robert Baroz
Baroz, who supports Obama and his efforts to expand the government, said that he doesn’t mind if the president, or his speechwriters, took some liberties with the facts. It was all in aid of a higher truth, he said.

“People who want to fuss over the word choice are missing the point. It’s about our investing in education and in communities,” Baroz said. 

Essentially, Baroz was saying the President used him as a metaphor. 

“It was technically correct; yes, I did lose my position three times within four years in the Boston Public Schools. To me, the question he posed to the people was a rhetorical question. The emphasis was on ‘like Robert.’ It’s people who are like me, highly qualified, and are not working. That’s the spirit of it.”

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