Most employeeshave a probationary period of ninety days, at which they receive their first employee review. But, I thought it would be more fair to our young president, if we used different standards to evaluate his performance to date. I mean he's just getting started, so is a regular employee review really fair? I don't think so.
What would be fair? As a very new president, I thought a student report card would be a more appropriate standard to conduct our review of President Obama.
So, I pulled out the old scrapbook for "My First Years" (thanks, Mom) - thumbed through the pages and there next to my 4 year old rendition of the moon landing in July, 1969, I find IT! Newport Elementary School, Ann Arbor, Michigan - 1969 - my kindergarten report card. Yep, this will work just fine.
Category 1: Social Development
- Works and plays well with other children - Needs Improvement. Barack seems to have a way about him that suggests that it's his way or he's going to take his ball and go home. When his classmates tell him that they don't want to play his game, Barack is quick to remind his new friends that he "won" and, accordingly, what he says goes. If Barack's friends are willing to play his games, then Barack can be very charming. If Barack's friends remain unwilling to play his games, despite his efforts to bribe them with candy, then he puts them on his "enemies list," which he keeps in his back pocket. One particularly troubling trait is Barack's tendency to take food from the lunch boxes of students who bring lunch to school and give that food to the other half of the class, who don't bring lunch to school.
- Participates in a variety of activities - Satisfactory. In fact, it could be said that Barack participates in too many activities. He is quickly displaying a tendency to want to be a "jack of all trades" and a "master of none."
- Cooperates, shares and takes turns - Needs Improvement. Barack is always telling his teacher's aide, Mrs. Pelosi, that he wants to cooperate with her, but then he never seems to do as she asks. Barack seems to want to cooperate with all the bullies - Iran, Syria and Cuba. Barack also does very poorly at sharing responsibility for the messes he creates in class - he seems to always want to blame little Georgie Bush.
- Accepts rules of group and school - Needs Improvement. Barack is very confused in this area of his development. When he came to class, Barack actually suggested a whole group of new rules - for instance, he said that he would never spend more money on lunch than was in his lunch account. He also said he would only be friends with people who told the truth. However, since the first week of class, Barack always seems to spend more money than he has in his lunch account and he has befriended many people who don't tell the truth and don't pay their taxes.
- Adjusts to New Situations - Needs Improvement. Barack seems to have real difficulty in changing his mind when confronted with facts that suggest that his initial impressions were wrong. When playing "kick the can" at recess, Barack suggested that the "jail," which was underneath the jungle gym, was unfair to the people who were held there, because his friends said it was. He, then, demanded that they should not be kept there, but didn't know where to put them. Then, after all this, one of his friends went to the jungle gym and it seemed just fine - but Barack will not change his mind.
- Shows self-control. - Needs Improvement Barack seems to display a desire to spend money which he doesn't have. He was also caught behind the kitchen smoking a cigarette with the school janitor.
- Shows dependability. - Needs Improvement. Barack seems to want to make everyone think that he has their best interests at heart. He wants to be liked. However, his actions rarely back up his words, or he starts to do something and then has problems completing the project.
- Solves own problems. Needs Improvement. Barack seems to have difficulty acknowledging that the problems he creates are, in fact, "his" problems. He always blames others for the situations which he creates.
Category 2: Emotional Development.
- Accepts suggestions and guidance. Needs Improvement. Barack seems to be very self-assured when he reads to the class and he always tells his classmates that he is open to their suggestions. Yet, in three months of attending class, Barack has not accepted one suggestion from those with whom he disagrees.
- Is interested and happy at school. Needs Improvement. Barack seems very interested in what is going on in the classroom, but I would not call him a happy student. Barack often seems to be brooding and while he claims to have many friends, if I were to ask those students if they really knew Barack, they would likely tell me "no."
- Exhibits self-confidence. Needs Improvement. Barack seems to exhibit self-confidence when reading to the class, but when asked to recall the story from memory or to talk, without looking at the book, Barack seems to have a real problem in stringing together his thoughts. At those moments, Barack seems to both lack a good grasp of what he is talking about and he often appears confused, flustered and embarrassed by his stammering and stuttering. In fact, Barack's nemesis, Georgie Bush appears far more intelligent during such moments.
Category 3: Physical Development.
- Appears rested and alert. Needs Improvement. When Barack's teacher recently complained that Barack wasn't getting his homework done and had been rude to Mr. Brown's class, Barack's friends were quick to point out that Barack seemed very tired and was worn out by all the work.
- Shows large muscle coordination (climbing, jumping, running). Satisfactory. Barack seems to be very adept at playing basketball with his friends, but the PE teacher is concerned that Barack appeared uncoordinated in a recent field trip to the bowling alley.
- Shows small muscle coordination (coloring, pasting, cutting). Needs Improvement. Barack seems to have quite a bit of difficulty cutting anything of substance.
Category 4: Readiness for School
- Listens to stories and discussions attentively. Needs Improvement. Barack seems to be very interested in hosting discussions about items of interest to the class, but there is a real question whether Barack actually listens to what is being discussed.
- Follows directions. Needs Improvement. Mrs. Pelosi, the teacher's aide, complains that Barack does not follow directions very well at all.
- Responds to music and rhythms. Exceeds Expectations. Barack seems very interested in having musicians visit the class, including Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire.
- Talks comfortably with classmates and teachers. Exceeds Expectations. Barack is a great talker.
Category 5: Reading, Language and Number Skills.
- Sits still and works at assigned task for 15-20 minutes. Exceeds Expectations. Barack has no problem working at an assigned task for 15-20 minutes. The problem lies in the fact that Barack doesn't get anything done in that 15-20 minutes and stops working at 20 minutes.
- Knows colors. Exceeds Expectations. Barack seems to display a great aptitude for understanding colors, particularly Blue and Red and, unfortunately, still too much interest in Black and White.
- Expresses himself clearly. Needs Improvement. Barack seems to express himself very clearly when reading something. He is less able to clearly express himself when not reading.
- Can tell a story with the details in the proper order. Needs Improvement. Barack seems to have tremendous difficulty in telling a story, particulary history, with the details in the proper order. He always wants to blame Georgie Bush for events which happened this semester in school, but Georgie transferred from the class last semester.
- Recognizes his name in print. Exceeds Expectations. Does he ever!! Barack is very aware of and conscious of how his name appears in print, more so than just about every student I have ever had.
- Knows full name, address and telephone number. Satisfactory. Barack seemed to have difficulty remembering his middle name, Hussein, for quite some time, but in a big school assembly on January 20th, he all of a sudden remembered to use his full name when giving a speech - Barack Hussein Obama.
- Knows left to right direction. Exceeds Expectations. Barack seems to be very aware of his directions, left and right. He seems to invariably favor the left.
- Seeks likenesses and differences in pictures, geometric shapes, word forms, and letters. Exceeds Expectations. Barack seems to always want to see his likeness in pictures, geometric shapes, word forms and in letters - anywhere where his picture can be posted is acceptable to Barack.
- Hears likenesses and differences in sound. Exceeds Expectations. Barack seemed to be very pleased with a classmate, who routinely sang of Barack and called herself an Obama girl.
- Can use numbers in various ways in classroom. Exceeds Expectations. Barack is very adept at using numbers in any number of ways. He can create any mathematical result, by adding numbers in ways which teachers thought were impossible. Barack is particularly skilled in the really big numbers, like hundreds of billions and trillions - his desire to play with the really big numbers seems to know no limitations.
- Can use numbers in counting. Exceeds Expectations. Barack is the only student in school history who can routinely count to a trillion. He has done it more than once in the last month.
Overall Impression: Barack is currently not meeting expectations in a number of critical areas which are necessary to an efficient running classroom, but he does demonstrate mastery in some academic areas, like mathematics - particularly very large whole numbers.