That phrase “Nixon-to-China” comes up again and again, and Thompson makes a telling point: It describes a political decision, not an education policy. The President’s education policy is indeed very little different from that of the GOP. As Thompson puts it, “It is a political gamble designed to beat up on two of the Democrats’ most loyal constituencies, teachers and families with children in urban schools, to show the “Billionaires Boys Club” that the administration could be tough on its friends.”
Is this a wise political strategy? “Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s “reforms” opened the door to Scott Walker’s and John Kasich’s attacks on collective bargaining. Worse, Duncan and President Obama mostly stayed silent as workers fought back in Wisconsin and Ohio. Had the administration joined with workers, perhaps the Wisconsin recall election would have been won. Regardless, if the administration remains silent in Chicago, fed-up teachers could stay home in droves. That would be a case of chopping our noses to spite our faces, but it would be understandable if teachers allowed our outrage to rule.”
Hopefully, the President has told the Mayor to settle, and to do so without humiliating the teachers.
But the question will remain: Why is the Obama administration wedded to the carrot-and-stick policies of the GOP? Why is it so devoted to handing public schools over to private management despite the lack of evidence that private managers in non-union schools are more successful than public ones?