Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cathy McMorris' Path to Speaker of the House

As I've watched with dread this debt ceiling debate, it occurs to me that neither John Boehner or Eric Cantor are really looking all that great right now. If Cantor thinks he can pivot off of the Tea Party into the speakership he's dreaming; similarly, I have my doubts that Boehner can tame the Tea tiger for very much longer when he's been aligned as closely with Obama as he has been these past few weeks.

If McMorris can hang on and not become a target, there's no reason to think that she couldn't rise to the top of the House Republicans in the next few years.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

I Kinda Suspected

From the August 1st edition of The Nation Magazine, in an article titled Starving Public Schools:
ALEC's real motivation for dismantling the public education system is ideological--creating a system where schools do not provide for everyone--and profit-driven. The corporate members on its education task force include the Friedman Foundation, Goldwater Institute, Washington Policy Center, National Association of Charter School Authorizers and corporations providing education services, such as Sylvan Learning and the Connections Academy.
Liv's got a posse, and they're both well funded and in the game for their own purposes.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A Fable for Our Times

Item: NEA Endorses Obama's Re-Election Bid

My friends, I have had an epiphany. Last night in a dream Four Horsemen appeared to me. The first, called Testing, was an old grey nag who promptly lifted her tail and shat on my sandals, and her rider was moneyed purveyor of standardized assessments.

The second, called Evaluation, was a fearsome beast who charged and kicked the children around me, then said it was my fault that the kids were hurt. On his back rode an opulently-dressed CEO carrying twin swords called Foundation Cash and Purchased Research.

The third horse, called Funding, was dead, the only sign of life a buzzard called Austerity picking at the corpse and yelling, "There's plenty here for everyone!"

And on the last horse was a fellow in a cowboy hat. He clearly had some authority over Testing, Evaluation, and Funding, but didn't choose to do an awful lot about it. And when he said to follow him, despite the horseshit and the abuse, I kissed his boots and went along, because it was clear to all: he was going to have a lot more power to change me than I ever would to change him.

Then seven trumpets sounded, seven plagues came, and public education was no more.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Thought on the Early Obama Endorsement

I've worked really, really hard to get the Washington Education Association to endorse Republicans. I've worked to steer some of our Politial Action Committee funds to Republicans. I believe completely that there are Republicans in this state who are better on public education than many of the Democrats are, and I could give a shit what political party you stand for--if you're a friend of the schools, you're a friend of mine.

That's why I can't for the life of me understand why the NEA is considering an early endorsement of President Obama. Race to the Top didn't help the schools. When every teacher at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island was fired, Obama pointed to that and called it accountability. The new pre-school version of RttT is going to introduce the testing regime to preschoolers. They need a nap, he's giving them the NAEP. It's pathetic.

What this reeks of is the kind of education politics I truly hate--the reflexive endorsement of the party over the person--and when we're racing ahead of every other union to give Obama a reacharound after being thrashed by his own Department of Education for the past 2.5 years, it's only right to ask what the hell our NEA leadership is thinking.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel was stupid to bring this to the Representative Assembly, and I sincerely hope the delegates see it that way. This one's not just a no--it's a hell no.

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