Thursday, December 18, 2008

Looking at Facts

Even after the selection of Arne Duncan t be the new Secretary of Education, the battle for the educational heart and mind of the Obama administration continues. Duncan is seen as a middle of the roader who could break in either direction for which direction to take school reform (because, yes, there are multiple ways to reform the schools).

Before Duncan's selection, the Boston Globe ran an editorial saying that Obama needs to appoint "an education secretary wedded to reform - not one inclined to settle for low standards." I could rant and rave now about how the choice is not between monolithic reform and the evil status quo, but I've covered that ground already so I'll let it slide this time. Suffice it to say that the Globe would prefer Obama to tack to the idealocratic side of the reform divide. (That's what they meant, even if they didn't know it.) This would mean adopting on a national scale the kinds of reforms that we've seen in New York and Washington D.C.

What's missing is an analysis beyond the hype of how effective those reforms really are. As was raised in the last issue of City Hall News, the New York reforms may not be all they're cracked up to be. Of course, Eduwonkette has made her blogging name establishing just that, so it's no great surprise.

In the debate over where the schools should go there's a lot of people shouting "Follow me!" and "Go that way!" What's missing (at least in the mainstream press) is a look at which direction actually makes the most sense after you cut out all the hyperbole and hype.

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