The future vitality of the U.S. democratic system of government and quality of our public policies should be based on broadening the array of ideas presidential candidates from both parties and the public can evaluate, debate, and ultimately base their political decisions.
For the past decade or so, numerous "conservatives" have chosen big bureaucracy over smaller, local government when crafting education policy. As the price of this choice becomes clearer, perhaps some on the right will change their minds.
No education reform measure evokes as much rabid and intense opposition as does private school choice. Is public school system preservation really more important than properly educating as many children possible?
I have two rules about people's positive actions. The first is that they are always more important than their intentions, whatever they may be. The second is the rule articulated by Maimonides nearly 800 years ago: embrace truth regardless of its source.
We should make equal educational opportunity a federal civil right for all students. This should include the right to a challenging curriculum, well-trained and effective teachers, and the funding to provide these essentials.
There's frequent talk of how the school choice debate no longer falls along traditional ideological lines -- of how courageous Democrats are embracing charters, vouchers, and other reforms. Last week was proof positive of the turning tide.
Too many state leaders are still failing to do what they can to put laws to work in the best interest of kids. They boast of "sound processes," "collaboration," and various interpretations of law. They avoid the "fierce urgency of now" when making decisions.
Having stayed out of the fray for several months, I've gained some perspective on the flashpoints that have been dominating the ed reform debate. From a freshly detached point of view, a few things seem clear to me.