Monday, June 14, 2010

For the children

An AMAZING editorial in today's NY Post about DFER:

For the children

Last Updated: 5:15 AM, June 13, 2010

As recently as a few short years ago, the wholesale captivity of the Democratic Party to teachers-union interests was an indisputable fact of American politics.

That's not the case anymore — thanks largely to groups like Democrats for Education Reform.

DFER, which was founded three years ago last week, has been a key player in the biggest shakeup in national educational policy in years.

Sure, teachers unions remain powerful, especially in states like New York. But fewer and fewer top Dems are inclined to parrot their line — that the biggest problem with America's scandalously underperforming schools is a lack of resources.

Instead, the principles of teacher accountability and parent choice have been deeply engrained, however imperfectly, in both President Obama's Race to the Top competition and New York's recent decision to more than double its cap on charter schools.

In three years, DFER has poured more than $17 million into campaigns for similar reforms — including state-level efforts in New York and across the country.

The group is also admirably clear-eyed as to reform's No. 1 obstacle:

"[Public schools], once viewed romantically as avenues of opportunity for all, have become captive to powerful, entrenched interests that too often put the demands of adults before the educational needs of children," reads its Web site.

That's to say, teachers unions.

Thus: "Democrats for Education Reform aims to return the Democratic Party to its rightful place as a champion of children."

The party certainly needs to be just that — given its dominance in most cities with subpar school systems.

Clearly, DFER and Executive Director Joe Williams have a long way yet to go.

Good luck to them — and happy birthday.

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