Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sinking ship

The GOP's plunge into stark raving insanity is accelerating -- witness the departure of even its putative "moderates." Anybody who isn't mad as a hatter is booed offstage, and if you want to stay on that stage, you have to put on your best Ophelia 24/7. No knowing asides to the audience allowed.

Please, please, Dems -- wake up, seize this moment. Do not be content to get elected because "at least they're not crazy." Recognize that we now have one party rule -- because the other party is into misrule, unruliness. No more bullshit post-partisan posturing. No more self-flattering "reasonableness." Instead, do serious economic analysis and push for serious solutions to real problems. You're gonna get another shot at actual power -- the Republican Party is melting, melting. Don't blow this.

Friday, February 24, 2012

"This is Madness" - Updated

So says Diane Ravitch, describing the astonishing doubling-down on teaching to the test now underway in New York State and nationally. As she notes, the Obama Administration is directly culpable for this. Our President may say in SOTU that we shouldn't teach to the test -- but he is dramatically increasing that in practice.

And what of Gov. Cuomo, he of the gay-marriage halo effect? This way political irrelevance lies. "Taking on education" (aka embracing the agenda of today's conventional-wisdom education "reform") seems to be the policy crack of our age. No Child has now been Left Behind by everyone -- witness a hall of Arizona Republicans loudly booing Rick Santorum for having voted for it at this week's debate. Making it his signature issue doomed Bloomberg to "he wasn't Giuliani" in the history books (and prepared that great educational reformer Joel Klein to become Hack-in-Chief Rupert Murdoch's defense attorney). And my bet is that it will at least do serious damage to Cuomo's presidential hopes.

We need a smarter approach to educating our political leaders on education. They keep failing the test.

Update: It is encouraging that the Grey Lady seems to have woken up to the sham that is "education reform." Witness two devastating pieces by or about persuasively wonderful teachers (both in Brooklyn) whom the test-mad regime labels "bad": A Sunday op-ed by William Johnson and a commentary today by Michael Winerip. There was even a sort-of public retreat from "reform" funder-in-chief Bill Gates.

The money quote from the Winerip piece:
"If city officials were trying to demoralize and humiliate the workforce, they’ve done a terrific job. News organizations get an assist for publishing the scores, and former Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein deserves a special nod for enthusiastically supporting the release."

Saturday, February 11, 2012