Update: Joe Klein (not swooning yet!) says Barack Obama, at an Iowa town meeting, "told a teachers' union member that he supported higher pay for teachers but also--the union's anathema--greater accountability." I'd be interested in the transcript: Praising "accountability" is one thing--a good thing, but vague. It could mean a lot of things. Talking about getting "rid of people," as Jobs did, puts the issue more clearly, no? ...
More: David Yepsen has an exact quote of what Obama actually said:
"If teachers are underperforming, we're going to get them the help they need. But we're not going to pretend they are not underperforming, and that is something we're going to have to make happen ..." [E.A.]
Hmmm. Maybe you get candor points for saying even that much in teacher-dominated Iowa, which only shows how pathetically pander-centric Democratic politics has become. (I think Eduwonk agrees.) Why couldn't Obama say something like this:
"If teachers are underperforming,we're going to get them the help they need. But in the meantime we will replace them with someone who can do the job. Our children's education has to come first. Yes, in order to attract good teachers, we must be fair to teachers. But the schools are there to teach our kids. They're not a jobs program. The best teachers are honored--and the best citizens will be attracted to the profession--when the public schools regain their reputation as institutions where good things happen to kids."
In the 1984 Democratic primary, Gary Hart and Walter Mondale actually got into a national debate over whether Mondale would dare to admit that bad teachers should actually be dismissed. Mondale finally said the words, if I remember, only after being backed into a highly-embarrasing special-interest corner by the press. Now the press gives out bravery awards for daring to say that teachers should "get the help they need." In this, and many other respects--read his announcement speech and try to find even a little bit of Souljah--Obama's campaign as less than a half Hart. ...I'd estimate about 23%. ...1:57 P.M. link
Friday, February 16, 2007
Low Hanging Fruit--The Gaia Hypothesis (as noted in Eat the Press): Hollywood fundraiser Daphne Ziman unveils Hillary Clinton pollster Mark Penn's carefully-crafted new campaign message in the Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge:
"The nation is in deep need for a mother figure who will lead the people out of a violent world and back into caring for the poor and the disabled, mostly caring for our children, our future." [E.A.]
Someone needs to be disciplined! ... Note to D.C.: You see what we have to deal with out here? ... 3:02 P.M. link