Just another installment in that long-running series "The Mystery of the Self-Loathing Liberal."
Ruy Teixeira has a new post up on Donkey Rising where he takes liberals to task for being boring on education:
Democrats have not benefitted more from education issues because they have had little new and exciting to say to voters about these issues. Instead, they have repeated the same old tired refrain ("more money!"), which has just reinforced voter stereotypes about Democrats and certainly hasn't made make them look like the party of reform and change.
He then excerpts a New Republic piece
from the Center for American Progress' resident education expert, who piles on:
In the only exchange on education during the 2004 presidential debates, John Kerry made one argument: "The president who talks about No Child Left Behind refused to fully fund [it] by 28 billion dollars . . . That sums up the education debate in last year's campaign. . . . While Bush and the Republicans moved to the middle, Kerry and the Democrats retreated from it....The party's top three education demands were money, money, and money.
Then, we learn that what is needed is not just money, but money plus reform:
Progressives should tackle a challenge all but ignored by Bush: strengthening the quality of teachers. . . . Strengthening teaching requires changes to the pay system and school culture that abet mediocrity. . . . High-poverty schools need to attract more teachers with bonuses, and all schools need to attract better teachers with the promise of higher earnings for better results. . . . [Schools] also need better systems to remove bad [teachers]. . . . A sound national plan would put big money on the table for school districts that adopt real reforms in pay, tenure, and licensing for teachers.
Sounds good to me (but go here for an alternative perspective from an actual high school teacher). Anyway, one last gratuitous slap at those silly liberals:
Standing alone, the usual liberal solution--across-the-board pay hikes--perpetuates the maldistribution of good teachers and reinforces the irrelevance of achievement.
And then we learn:
....Al Gore and John Kerry both offered agendas along these lines [i.e. the "money plus reform" agenda] for teacher quality.
Here's what the DLC's Progressive Policy Institute (you heard me right) said about Kerry's teacher quality proposals at the time:
Kerry's teacher plan is gutsy, full of important policy ideas, and easily the most interesting education proposal so far during the 2004 campaign. It includes proposals for differential pay, performance-based pay, mentoring for new teachers, more attention to low-performing schools, higher standards for new teachers, more accountability for schools of education, and faster dismissal for low-performing teachers. It sets a high bar for President Bush and hopefully portends an interesting debate to come. Although, if their reaction to the proposal today is any indication, this one may have caught the Bush-Cheney team flat-footed.
So let me get this straight: Democrats need to offer "new ideas" on education . . . by rehashing proposals made by both of our last two Presidential nominees?
There are plenty of other liberal ideas out there for improving teacher quality along these lines:
I mean, it's one thing when the RWNM pushes anti-liberal propaganda like "liberals just want to spend, spend, spend," or, "liberals don't have any new ideas," but why do our own people have to aid and abet this journalistic dope-pushing which is not only factually inaccurate, but refuted in the very piece of crap they just wrote?
PS: For an alternative perspective on the teacher quality issue, take a look at teacherken's diary over at Daily Kos:PPS
: I wonder if incidents like this
have anything to do with the fact that liberals and Democrats never seem to be able to get their message out there.