This week, President Obama pushed back against his natural allies in civil rights groups and teachers' unions who have criticized his education policies -- particularly his Race to the Top initiative -- as anti-teacher and unfair to minorities. "Our goal isn't to fire or admonish teachers," he said. "Our goal is accountability." Teacher effectiveness is the single most important factor driving student performance. Yet, because of overly rigid union contacts, we cannot pay the best teachers more based on their performance -- and it's become next to impossible to fire even the worst teachers. Until we stop this insanity, our national report card will continue to be littered with Fs. The president should be applauded and given major leadership props for taking on this schlerotic status quo. This is what real, beyond-left-and-right bipartisanship looks like.