Saturday, March 01, 2008

Education is Not an Issue?

Forget ideology. Forget the personalities of individual politicians. I think I could write a whole book arguing for the Green Party simply based on all the important issues that get short shrift simply because the damned Democrats and Republicans don't talk about them. And according to the two-party totalitarian culture of the United States, if "liberal" Democrats and "conservative" Republicans don't talk about a problem, then it's not a problem.

Jeffrey Henig has an interesting op-ed in the Boston Globe on why education is a missing issue in this year's political campaign. "Liberal" Democrats are now divided on the question of charter schools and "Conservative" Republicans are now divided on Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. And so, the gutless politician's are doing what gutless Demopublicans always do -- playing it safe.

Published by the Boston Globe, March 1, 2008
The Debate on Education
by Jeffrey R. Henig

. . . Democrats, who used to argue against charter schools (casting them as vouchers in sheep's clothing), increasingly see charters as a benign and promising form of public school reform. Republicans, who once could rally around the get-tough aspects of No Child Left Behind, are growing irritated about the negative impact of high-stakes testing.

This internal ambivalence is making it risky for the candidates to use the tried-and-true formulations that have worked in the past. . .

This is an issue that is close to me. My wife, Cathy Deppe and my daughter have taught in the public schools in San Jose. Cathy has also taught in Los Angeles where the Los Angeles Unified School District, presided over by the Los Angeles Democratic Party Machine is an absolute disgrace. We have grandchildren attending public schools in California where our sacrosanct racist 2-Party System has all but destroyed what was once one of the finest systems of public education in the world.

Read More on at Green Commons:

1 comment:

Wes said...

Alex, I fully agree about Education in California. It was, in 2006, the segment where Sarah Knopf, a Green gathered the most votes, though for the non partisan office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

However, if you follow the Campaign Analysis discussion between Moyers and Jamieson that I noted before, you will find that he is using the education issue in a unique manner. It is tied directly to his biography, not his policy. To quote Jamieson:
He goes off to Harvard. He then comes back to serve his community. Both Clinton and Obama, in their life story, made a choice not to go on and become wealthy with their Ivy League law degrees. Instead, to go back and serve their community.

The Obama ad does something else. His ad tells you, and his speeches tell you that education is what made his life possible. And what does he want to do as a result? He wants to guarantee quality education. He wants to have high quality teachers. Now, a theme of the campaign, a promise in the presidency, is pulled out of biography and is given credibility for that. It's motivated by the life story. That's effective biography.

As for a policy... Clinton is right, he does not have one.