Republicans for Education Reform
Mike Petrilli has a different take:
Rank and file members of both parties want to undo NCLB's prescriptiveness around accountability—but don't want to "cut and run" either. This points the way.
Perhaps that's why Democrats for Education Reform reacted to the package with such swift viciousness yesterday. This generally admirable group—so effective at giving Democrats at the state level the political cover to break with the teachers unions—has an unfortunate tendency on federal policy to believe that Washington knows best. (Its policy director was a longtime staffer for Representative George Miller, one of the key architects of NCLB.) In a widely circulated press statement, the group described the plan as "a stunning retreat on two decades of reform" and wondered whose "bidding" the senators were doing.
If DFER staffers are implying that the Republican Party—the party of Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie—has decided to jump in bed with the teachers unions, then they've really lost their marbles. Sure, GOP principles on federalism and the unions' disdain for accountability lead to a similar place on specific features of ESEA. But for reformers to believe that states will automatically back away from tough love for schools if given the chance is to admit weakness at the state policy level. Republican governors and legislators, the "Chiefs for Change," and a growing number of DFER-type Democrats have proven themselves more than capable to carry the mantle of reform without help from Uncle Sam.
There's a new slogan going around Washington this week: "Pass this bill." When it comes to the GOP ESEA proposal, I say, "Yes we can."
Posted by Mike Petrilli on September 15, 2011 at 9:46 am