From the President's NBC interview:
This is encouraging because, unlike the test-scores scare, the drop-out crisis hasn't received nearly enough attention. After gangs and school violence, it is the problem that worries me the most.
What is your message to the leadership of unions and to teacher union members?
"We want to work with you; we're not interested in imposing changes on you...you can't defend the status quo in which a third of our kids are dropping out...when you've got 2,000 schools across the country that are drop-out factories, in those schools you have to have radical change. ... The vast majority of teachers want to do a good job, they're not in it for the money. ... Ultimately if some teachers are not doing a good job they've got to go."
This discouraging because many of the schools being held up as models by the reformers have built much of their reputation by systematically excluding and/or chasing away the very students who drop out of traditional schools.