In Blueprint, Andrew Rotherham gives a New Democrat’s defense of Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and outlines what a responsible Kerry position would look like.
. . . promoting a solution-oriented agenda instead of simply attacking NCLB keeps Kerry out of the “accountability versus spending” corner, where Karl Rove wants him.
Kerry has been talking about education on his latest campaign swing, promising to spend $30 billion over the next 10 years on teacher recruitment, training and salaries. The New York Times reports:
A major part of his plan, and one that could face opposition from teachers’ unions, is to set aside $9 billion to get school districts to raise teacher salaries across the board but also to reward teachers for demonstrating excellence, using measurements including their students’ improvement on standardized tests.
Pay for performance plays well with the general public, but didn’t wow a teacher-heavy audience.
“I believe we need to offer teachers more pay,” he began, interrupted by applause.
He continued: “More training, more career choices, and more options for education. And we must ask more in return. That’s the bargain.” And there was silence.
If Kerry sticks to pay for performance, he could show his independence from the teachers’ unions. He’s already flipflopped on NCLB, however.