March 4, 2008

Setting the agenda or setting my teeth on edge?

I'm beginning to think that the "the candidates won't talk about education!" complaints about the campaign are a bit whiny, or at least they're striking my ear that way for a few reasons:

  • The complaints are pretty vague. "Talk about education" could mean a variety of things, and I always wonder what questions the complainers would want to ask or perhaps who they want to be writing the questions. Would Ed in '08 want Jonathan Kozol to ask questions at a debate? Would Alfie Kohn want Kati Haycock to ask the questions? (Eduwonkette, if you're reading, I challenge you to nominate the most interesting and eclectic panel of questioners at a hypothetical fall education debate for the candidates.)
  • Sometimes the oxygen is just sucked up by other things. You don't change an agenda by complaining about the agenda but by ... making the issue so visible that it's difficult to ignore it. And I know from observing a few things close up that whether an issue acquires headline status is often luck.
  • Because the luck may change, and because the campaign dynamics will inevitably be different in the fall, there will be opportunities for the priorities or at least the headlines to switch around. Make your own opportunities by being ready, folks...

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Posted in Education policy on March 4, 2008 7:40 PM |