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Obama Envoy Visits Reformistan To Reassure On Change Agenda

Barackeducation I read Josh Pasternak Patashnik's new article about Barack Obama's school reform credentials ( Reform School) with mixed feelings, not just because I'm working on my own Obama piece about his work in Chicago on education but also because I'm not sure Patashnik's analysis is altogether compelling. 

In essence, we're being told that Obama is reform-minded underneath it all and stands a strong chance to implement a reformist education agenda ("the best hope for real reform in decades").  About the first, there's no argument.  About the second -- whether Obama will be able to make change -- I'm not so sure.  No, check that.  I'm pretty doubtful.

Read on for a couple more grafs on this.

CORRECTION:  Sorry to have gotten Josh's name wrong -- twice. 

As Patashnik notes, in recent weeks Obama has slowly boxed himself in further and further on education issues -- crapping on NCLB, renouncing vouchers, etc. What he did or said in 05 or even 07 doesn't matter much.  Nor does it really matter how many campaign advisers he sends to Canada reformistan to tell us that he doesn't really mean to get out of NAFTA NCLB.   If he wins the primary as a traditional Democrat he's always going to struggle to go back to the middle if and when he's elected. Part of Bush's big success on NCLB was that it was part and parcel of what he'd run on from the start -- not an approach that veered and swayed depending on the month. 

Sure, teachers unions are a little weaker than they once were.  But they're still pretty damn powerful.  Sure, the young folk think about schools differently than their elders. But they're not usually in charge.  Sure, DFER is chomping at the bit.  But it's still a tiny part of the fundraising machine. 

The best part of the article is its description of how Obama has wavered and waffled on education in recent months -- part of him hoping to stay true to his own ideas, another part of him really wanting that NEA endorsement.   Well, the NEA has decided not to endorse this year -- call that a victory if you want.  The AFT is already with Clinton. And thus far, at least, school reform is not nearly as sharp or prominent a part of Obama's campaign as it would need to be to generate big changes in 2009.  In fact, things are going the other way. 


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i AM SO GLAD that you are able to discern Senator Obama's blarney. As people say, "the fool, fools the fools." Let's hope that Americans will wake up in time to correct misguided voters.

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