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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "Obama’s Homework Assignment": How About First Tackling the Drug Problem?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Obama’s Homework Assignment" (, Thomas Friedman suggests that President Obama address the failure of America's educational system in his upcoming State of the Union Address. Friedman asks:

"Are we falling behind as a country in education not just because we fail to recruit the smartest college students to become teachers or reform-resistant teachers’ unions [sic], but because of our culture today: too many parents and too many kids just don’t take education seriously enough and don’t want to put in the work needed today to really excel?"

Perhaps I am being cynical, but I don't know what it means to "really excel." Try as teachers might, the vast majority of students cannot be taught to write algorithms, in much the same way that I cannot be taught to play the piano - the underlying capability is simply not there.

Presumably there is a difference between excelling and making the most of your potential.

On the other hand, most students can learn to become productive, moral citizens and to master basic skills.

However, there is no mention in Friedman's opinion piece of a serious drug problem that is plaguing American schools. Cheap addictive drugs, particularly heroin in capsule form, are available in abundance, and countless children are falling victim.

Before seeking to enable students to achieve excellence, this drug problem first needs to be tackled.


  1. Tackle the drug problem? Obama just declared that smoking pot isn't worse than drinking........where do I begin with my response to that?

  2. And it just keeps getting better:
    Quote:“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” Obama said.