Wednesday, June 8, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: The Left and Right of Ed Reform

CURMUDGUCATION: The Left and Right of Ed Reform:

The Left and Right of Ed Reform

Robert Pondiscio triggered a reformy tempest almost two weeks ago when he wrote that the Left was in danger of pushing conservatives out of the ed reform movement. The reformy blogoverse and twitterverse have not shut up about it since, with responses ranging from the sympathetic to... well, less so (Best title: "Audacity of Nope"). A large portion of the education post stable has taken a shot at the issue, and so have many of standard-bearers on the right-leaning side of the ed reform tracks. I had a response of my own (written before I realized this was going to be A Thing), but I am not going to try to digest the whole sprawling conversation here. You can read your way around the internet if you've missed this.

But I'm writing about it today, because reading all of these responses has revived one of the questions that has puzzled me about ed reform for quite a while.

When we look at the ed reform coalition of the Left and the Right, how are we supposed to tell the two sides apart?

Exactly what policies or principles are different when one compares lefty reformsters to righty reformsters?

There was never any real difference on Common Core support, other than folks on the right abandoned it a little faster than folks on the left, and both have been stalwart in supporting the Big Standardized Test. Even the differences one might have expected to find are not there. One might expect that conservatives might be more inclined to defend the traditional institutions of public education or to stick up for local control instead of state-level or mayoral take-overs, that didn't happen. It's happening now (here's Rick Hess just today), but it sure wasn't happening when reformsters were railing about defenders of the status quo. One might expect that lefties would hew close to traditional lefty allies like teacher unions, but we find nominal Democrats like Whitney Tilson (DFER) and Andy Cuomo ranting about how the evil unions must be crushed.

If we look at reformy politicians, are there real policy differences between the education policies of Rahm Emmanuel and Chris Christie, between Marty Walsh and Nathan Deal? Certainly, when it comes to education policy, there were no substantial difference between the goals of the Bush and Obama administrations.

Pondiscio's original piece distinguished between the practicality of righties and the social justice concerns of lefties, but I'm not sure that really holds up-- at least not in terms of how both group
CURMUDGUCATION: The Left and Right of Ed Reform:

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