Why Ed Reform Needs Republicans

Nov 10, 2019 by

Rick Hess and I have a piece on National Review making the case, once again, that an ed reform movement that consists almost entirely of Democrats is doomed to fail and may help explain our lost decade of progress on NAEP results.

Some points to emphasize:

— We repeat our observation that the ed reform movement consists almost entirely of Democrats these days, but we note that this is dramatically different from 20 years ago. Back then, when we look at a similar sample of campaign contributions from employees at ed reform organizations, we see a partisan split that is closer to 50-50.

— We do not know and do not really care about who is to blame for this severe partisan imbalance. Our main goal in this piece is to get people to recognize how the current absence of Republicans in the movement is harming its political success.

— If you are not willing to set aside some tangential issues and compromise on others, you aren’t really seeking to advance education reform policy — you are choosing to lose politically for virtue-signaling. That’s a fine choice and some compromises may be too unpalatable to make, but be aware of what you are sacrificing when you do this.

Source: Why Ed Reform Needs Republicans | Jay P. Greene’s Blog

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1 Comment

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    In the name of education reform, Republicans typically like models that promote “choice” because they preach, and have preached over the years, that choice is the engine that drives innovation, excellence… Choice promotes, in their view, competition and competition forces folks to be on their toes, to innovate, to attempt to prove their model or product is superior and to price their product to “sell.” Choice and competition make everything superior. Never mind the glaring pitfalls: choice and competition bring us as much or more stratification as we have now. Consider choice in purchasing a car. I am a teacher and my means are relatively limited, so I always select a practical, less expensive car that I drive for 12 years. The wealthy select luxury cars and trade them more frequently. Competition is handled when some fish grow bigger or faster and consume the small fish so I am left with only 1-2 choices (I can shop at Lowes or Home Depot) for essentially the same products at the same prices. Competition assumes teachers are highly competitive by nature, when (at least in my case) I would rather freely share the good lessons I create than sell them on “Teachers Pay Teachers.” Republicans tend to prefer more charter schools (but some Democrats do, too) along the way to eliminating public funding for public education.
    No thanks, I think American needs to take a hard look at the drivers of test scores and deal with these problems at their roots, or better yet, question the very existence of high stakes testing altogether. Finally, dismal progress on the NAEP is more likely tied to other issues outside our classrooms.

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