To get beyond the education wars, reformers should focus on early childhood education, advises New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
He thinks the reform movement has “peaked,” leaving “bruised” zillionaires and “dispirited” idealists. “K-12 education is an exhausted, bloodsoaked battlefield,” Kristof writes. “It’s Agincourt, the day after.”
Furthermore, early education isn’t “politically polarized.”
Can we all play together nicely?
I don’t think early education is a no-brainer. If everyone’s for “high-quality” preschool, that does that mean expensive, intensive, language-developing, parent-coaching programs for very disadvantaged kids? Or adult-supervised play time for everyone? “Universal” preschool is popular with voters, but it sucks up the money needed to fund the kind of programs that might make a lasting difference.
Reformers don’t feel stalemated, writes Alexander Russo. They’re taking a few hits, adapting and moving forward.
He’s also dubious about an early childhood consensus. “Previous Obama-led efforts to increase federal spending on ECE have fallen flat, and the merest hint that ECE is a strong issue for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign means that it won’t pass unchallenged by the Bush and Rubio campaigns.”