No longer captive to the teachers’ unions, Democrats are trying to reform education, writes Rishawn Biddle in American Spectator.
As with their colleagues in conservative and (occasionally) libertarian circles, the Democrat reformers prefer the prescription of standardized tests, stronger curriculum standards, consequences for academic underachievement and school choice options that the NEA and AFT generally oppose. They are often even more fervent in challenging the work rules and traditional seniority- and degree-based compensation systems that have made teaching the one profession most-insulated from performance management. (Michelle) Rhee, in particular, told Time magazine, “If the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”
It helps to have billionaire backers: Bill Gates and Eli Broad.
Obama’s pick for education secretary “signals an intent to maintain a rigorous system of standardized tests in public schools, while experimenting with reforms disliked by unions, such as teacher merit pay,” writes the Wall Street Journal.
In announcing the appointment Tuesday at a Chicago news conference, President-elect Barack Obama said he and Mr. Duncan share a “deep pragmatism” and a willingness to tap ideas often associated with conservatives. “Let’s not be clouded by ideology when it comes to figuring out what helps our kids,” Mr. Obama said.
John Easton of the Consortium of Chicago School Research praised Duncan’s “openness to ideas and a real interest in data and how things are working.”
Sounds good. Let’s hope it’s true.
Duncan is a safe, boring, reform at the margins choice, writes Greg Forster on PJ Media.