June 11, 2008

The politics of education platforms

Steve Diamond is right: the public pronouncements of sweeping education approaches are all about a "battle for the soul of Barack Obama on education policy." That is true whether you're talking about the Bolder Approach announcement Monday, a Klein-Sharpton alliance that will be announced today, or what have you. (Ed in '08 counts, though it is technically nonpartisan: It has consistently wanted to influence all candidates.)

All the attacks this spring on Obama's links to Bill Ayers and Linda Darling-Hammond are both partisan (when Republicans try to pile on in hopes of finding something that will stick as an attack in the fall, as with Ayers) and influence-seeking in a sideways fashion, trying to peel away potential sources of influence (as with attacks on Darling-Hammond).

I'm still going to comment on the EPI collaboration when I get time, and probably the Klein-Sharpton potpourri as well, but for now, there are two parts of these attempts that seem self-defeating in some way:

  • If you think Barack Obama is a blank slate who's easily swayed on either policy or rhetoric, you haven't been paying attention to the nomination process.
  • In practice, the most important decisions on education policy will be appointments to transition task forces and political appointees to the USDOE and the relevant White House advising offices.
More importantly, I will draft an Instantly Coopting Everyone: Duh, You Octagonal Usurper (ICED YOU) statement that will beat all of the efforts at inter-egoorganizational statement-drafting. This statement will be superior because I have actually listened to Obama a few times and because the statement will have one thing that is missing from all other attempts at the Uber Education Statement Du Jour (UESDJ, an unpronounceable acronym and therefore inferior): a sense of humor. Pffft!
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Posted in Education policy on June 11, 2008 11:18 AM |