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Obama Win Could Move Clinton Towards The Center On Education

What does Obama's big Iowa win mean for education (besides lots of nervous pro-Clinton educationistas like Rotherham, Brown, and Gordon)?

One possibility is that it will encourage Clinton to emphasize even further her allegiance to traditional liberal Democratic issues such as class size reduction and her opposition NCLB and merit pay.  On education, Clinton is the liberal and Obama is the centrist (for more on this, seeThree Steps To Understanding Obama-Clinton).

HilaryclintonClinton could go the opposite route, however, since she is more naturally a centrist on education and other issues.  Why emphasize something that's apparently not winning all that much support and excitement? It would piss of the unions, but they're grownups and know that in the end they'd rather have her than him. 

My guess is that the Clinton folks won't want or be able to make any quick change of course before New Hampshire, much as some of them have been chafing at her stodgy education positions.  But if things continue to go badly you could see her moving back towards the center on education soon enough.  Not that it's likely to make a substantial difference to the outcome.

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Alex,

Why would you use the terms liberal and centrist on these educational issue? I don't mind, of course, if we're just talking about practical politics, but if we're talking educational policy, I worry about sloppy language producing sloppy thinking.

I guess you could say market-based pay is being conservative, but to me its the opposite. To me, its a gamble. Its a gamble I'm willing to take under certain circumstances, especially if negotiated locally. But top down mandates have traditionally been seen as leftist.

I'm thrilled to hear commentators comparing us to 1932. Millions who voted for FDR became loyal Dems. And FDR, like JFK, and RFK were pragmatists. When I was too young to understand, I marveled at the way that conflicts between the Old Left of the 30s and 40s seemed to be so alive for my mentors, and I admired both sides. Now I'm old enough to understand, and here's my metaphor.

Liberal supporters of NCLB are like the old social engineers who fell in love with dam-building. They wanted to create jobs, generate electricity, irrigate, and design a more rational system. Their version of Ed in 08 was Woody Guthrie singing Roll On Columbia Roll On. They did not even see the ecosystems they were inundating. The truest of the true believers continued their approach until nearly 1960, while flooding Glenn Canyon. Today we see their ignorance as horrific. They just didn't recognize environmental dynamics.

My friend who used to be with the Heritage Foundation, says that the issue in education is not liberal vs. conservative. Its between "clued in" and "clueless."

Hillary is not clueless. None of the Dems for president are clueless. But Obama is clued in.

DT


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