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Obama’s Obstacles to Educational Change: Race, Racism, and Reform

The Obama Administration and Educational Reform

ISBN: 978-1-78350-709-2

Publication date: 1 December 2014



This paper is concerned with the obstacles of educational reform in a racial climate and the acceptance of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.


As a result, while the president’s positions on educational reform are important, the question still remains; can the majority of Whites support an agenda coming from a Black president? Moreover, as a Black man, can the president really be “allowed” to be a “representative” of all of the people? Do many people think that the election of Mr. Obama ushered in a “postracial” society; in that he is the living testament that we no longer need to focus on social justice, civil rights, and educational reform, especially for underperforming minority schools? Is race a factor among Whites and Blacks regarding President Obama’s approval ratings? How much success can any president expect to have when a significant majority of the population is resistant to his vision of “change?”


Based upon these lingering questions, the issue of race has been and will remain a factor in the Obama presidency that no other president has had to contend. Obfuscation, control, and fear appear to be the raison d’être regarding a strategy of resistance toward President Obama and his interest in “change.” These are the reasons why President Obama’s time is significantly spent on negotiating racial obstacles to change.


The goal of this paper is to provide a sociological and psychological context within a historical framing to understand obstacles to change faced by President Barack Hussein Obama.



Smith, W.A. (2014), "Obama’s Obstacles to Educational Change: Race, Racism, and Reform", The Obama Administration and Educational Reform (Advances in Education in Diverse Communities, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 237-254.



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