I’m a bit of Covey Fan, at least some great stuff from his first book. Beginning with the end in mind, and keeping it in mind, is central to strategic thinking on policy and politics.
With that out of the way, I’ll tell you that one of the “ends” I’m working toward is the transformation (as opposed to the reform) of America’s education system.
I can easily defend the statement that America’s education system can’t be reformed in its present context. Taking that one step further, i would argue that even if it could be reformed, we shouldn’t want to.
I write all this because I just posted a comment to one of my favorite blogs, Brothers Judd. The post on that blog touted an article describing Obama’s “break” with the Teacher’s Unions. This is an interesting development, and there is much more, and much less, than meets the eye.
The comment I posted is below.
This is my take, and I think I’ll be proven right. Obama & Co. know that the existing system is unsustainable, particularly for the urban schools. They are creatures of the Union, but know that Unionism is the problem. Hence their attempt to “fix” the system using half-measures like “turnaround models” and charters.
This is akin to “glasnost” and “perestroika.” Obama thinks he can loosen the leash, maintain control, and then re-unionize charters when results improve. This brings to mind 2 important things for true reformers to remember.
1. Reforms need to lead to the permanent removal of unionization from education, so we need to work toward the collapse of the union system (USSR), and not its “reform.”
2. All this talk of Obama truly understanding the problem should be ignored. Whatever his personal motivation to succeed, in his heart of hearts, he is an unreconstructed leftist who believes everything William Ayers believes about schooling.
He’s Gramsci to the core. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Gramsci
Just remember, like Katrina, if every government school in the US fell to rubble tomorrow, we would see a flourishing of education that would surprise the most Pollyanna optimist. To that end, all half measures should be designed to destroy the current system, not to save it.
US Government Education Complex = USSR
Obama = Gorbachev
In my view, , the Union-dominated education system will appear strong, like the USSR, right up to the moment they collapse. Once they collapse, Unions must be driven from education.
The most important policy needed to bring that about is the rapid charterizaton of existing schools, combined with the majority of the education dollar following children to those schools.
If you don’t put a stake through their heart, salt and garlic the coffin, and scatter the ashes, they will come back and fix on your neck yet again.