November 1, 2006

Bush Revolution continues...

Card-Carrying-Conservative types expect "The Revolution" to be enacted in neat packages, sort of like LBJ's War on Poverty. Meanwhile, they can't even see the actual revolution...

Thomas Carroll, NY Sun...The teachers unions contribute substantial sums to incumbents on both sides of the political aisle in the state Legislature, but in contested statewide races, they are among the Democratic Party's staunchest allies. That's one reason that Hillary Clinton announced her initial candidacy for the Senate at the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers, New York City's teachers union. That's also why statewide Democratic candidates for office typically offer no ideas that run counter to those held by union bosses.

Given this history, one might reasonably suppose that the likely Democratic takeover of the governor's office might not be good news for those who favor school choice or major educational reforms. A few early signs, however, suggest that Eliot Spitzer, if elected, may break this partisan mold.

Over the past year, Mr. Spitzer has been speaking much more boldly about education reform than any other major figure in his party...

...The federal No Child Left Behind Act, by increasing the focus on test results and accountability, has made the disappointing performance of New York's urban schools more and more difficult to defend. No serious person any longer argues with the central premise that the current educational system in New York is broken.

With the worst test scores concentrated in the state's urban areas, political support for the status quo, especially among minority legislators, is evaporating....[My emphasis. Thanks to Orrin]

NCLB was designed for this. To change the terms of the debate. Change them from "Our schools need more money!" to "Is there something fundamentally wrong here?"

You can't get good answers until you start asking the right questions. I learned that long ago from reading Peter Drucker. NCLB is wickedly designed to keep asking the same questions, year after year, as test scores appear. "Why is this school failing?" "Why hasn't this school improved over last year?"

The standard schools must meet is not just doing well, but improving every year. All of them. It's crazy. That is, crazy within the the terms of the status quo. As a tool of revolutionary change, it's brilliantly designed. A bribe of a few billions to poor sozzled Teddy Kennedy to get it passed was peanuts.

All the NRO types could see was Bush supporting more big government, more spending. Same for Kennedy, though he was in favor of course. Neither saw a new lens for looking at the old situation. A new way of thinking about old messy problems.

It's perfectly understandable lefties are chewing the carpets therse days. It's not just their political strength that's being undermined, but also their world-view.

Posted by John Weidner at November 1, 2006 6:04 AM
Weblog by John Weidner