It has been both amusing and instructive to watch the disintegrating nexus between the Democratic Party and one of its staunchest and most reliable constituencies, the teachers unions, over the reform of public education around the country. When liberal columnist Leonard Pitts can write this–“Enough. It is time teachers embraced accountability. Time parents, students and government did, too”–and when Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton are singing the same tune, you know that there is disarray in the anti-reform protectionist crowd. The growth of this phenomenon is being further confirmed by the emergence of a well-funded national organization named Democrats for Education Reform, the stated reform mission of which could have been written by the most aggressive reform advocates, such as yours truly. The reason? The Obama administration’s education initiatives have something to do with it, at least in terms of providing political “cover”, but the main reason is simply that the forces of the status quo have run out of excuses and the data on the failures of the antiquated system have become overwhelming. I don’t quite know where all this support from many of our erstwhile policy opponents will lead, but it’s encouraging and fun to watch.
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