Jeff Bryant of the Education Opportunity Network writes in Salon that voters are increasingly disenchanted with the bipartisan Bush-Obama education policies of high-stakes testing, Common Core, and privatization.
He points out that the attacks on public education are not playing well at all in the political arena. The overwhelming majority of parents are very happy with their local public schools and respect their teachers. The public is beginning to see through the lies they have been told about their schools. So much of the rhetoric of the “reformers” sounds appealing and benign, if not downright inspirational, but it ends up as nonstop testing, the closing of local public schools, merit pay, union-busting, the enrichment of multinational corporations, and standardization.
Bryant predicts that Democrats will suffer at the polls for their slavish espousal of hard-right GOP doctrine.
“The only overriding constants? People generally like their local schools, trust their children’s teachers and think public school and teachers should get more money. Wonder when a politician will back that!
“Many observers, including journalists at The Wall Street Journal, have accurately surmised that the American public is currently deeply divided on education policy. But that analysis barely scratches the surface.
“Go much deeper and you find that the “new liberal consensus” that Adam Serwer wrote about in Mother Jones, which propelled Obama into a second term, believes in funding the nation’s public schools but has little to no allegiance to Obama’s education reform policies.
“Outside of the elite circles of the Beltway and the very rich, who continue to be the main proponents of these education policies, it is getting harder and harder to discern who exactly is the constituency being served by the reform agenda.
“Most Americans do not see any evidence that punitive measures aimed at their local schools are in any way beneficial to their children and grandchildren. In fact, there’s some reasonable doubt whether the president himself understands it.
So is Arne Duncan making education policy on his own? Or is the policy agenda of the Obama administration indistinguishable from that of rightwing Republicans like Bobby Jindal, Rick Scott, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mike Pence, and Tom Corbett?