Barack Obama affirmed the key themes of his education agenda on Tuesday.

1) "Investing in early childhood initiatives" like Head Start;

2) "Encouraging better standards and assessments" by focusing on testing itineraries that better fit our kids and the world they live in;

3) "Recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers" by giving incentives for a new generation of teachers and for new levels of excellence from all of our teachers.

4) "Promoting innovation and excellence in America's schools" by supporting charter schools, reforming the school calendar and the structure of the school day.

5) "Providing every American with a quality higher education--whether it's college or technical training."

Good stuff. And there was this characteristically Barackian sentiment too:

It is time to start rewarding good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.

But then on Wednesday he signed the omnibus spending bill. Aside from being laden with thousands of  earmarks he had earlier promised to stop, this included something else, as Roland Martin notes:

When President Obama signs the $410 billion omnibus spending bill, there will be shouts of joy from both sides as Republicans and Democrats get their cherished earmarks. Yet tucked into that bill is an amendment pushed by the president's former colleague in the Senate, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, who used his influence to essentially kill the District of Columbia school vouchers program.

Oh sure, it will be portrayed that the Democrats aren't killing the program, but the initiative calls for no new students to be allowed entry, unless approved by Congress and the District of Columbia City Council. And considering that the teachers union has such a death grip on both Democratic-controlled institutions, you can forget about that happening.

Refreshing to hear a Democrat talk about a union's "death grip". Onward to card check!

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