Obama’s only claim to have executive experience qualifying him for high government office came before being in elected office according to a claim in a 2000 televised debate during a failed campaign to unseat incumbent Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush. Of that experience, Obama said: “I have chaired major philanthropic efforts on the city, like the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) that gave $50 million to prompt school-reform efforts throughout the city.”
It was an impressive line on anyone’s resume. It was also a flop.
According to an article in IBD,
In 1998-99, just 36% of the Annenberg school students in grades three through eight were reading at or above national norms compared with 35% in Chicago schools citywide. In math, the results were similar. Some 43% of Annenberg students were at or above national norms versus 42% for non-Annenberg students.
High school graduation rates for both groups of students were the same at 40%. The Annenberg schools edged out Chicago schools in dropout rates — 35% to 36%. As the report said, there were no signs of improvement that warranted the expenditure of $160 million.
The CAC did not improve the schools, and in some ways made things worse. The executive summary also notes: “Classroom behavior, students’ sense of self-efficacy, and social competence were weaker in 2001 than before the Challenge.”
The report stated: “In 2001, students in Annenberg schools were somewhat less inclined than in 1994 to respect each other, work well together and help each other learn.” Neither student attitudes nor student achievements were aided by Obama’s efforts.
The comprehensive report on the results of efforts by Obama and Ayers goes on to say
When Obama collected the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers, he told the teachers that support for alternatives to the education monopoly amounted to “tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice” even though efforts like the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, unlike those of the CAC, have produced stunning improvements.
Not being left behind are Obama’s daughters, who attend the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. There the tuition ranges from $15,528 for kindergarten to $20,445 for high school. When asked about it during last year’s YouTube debate, Sen. Obama responded that it was “the best option” for his children.
They had a choice Obama would deny others.