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Politics: Tough Times For Team Obama

ScreenHunter_43 Mar. 05 19.40 It's stating the obvious to say that these aren't fun times for Obama's education team, slammed on the left by the teachers union (among others) and by reformy right not pushing hard enough to keep the RTTT money out of the House edujobs bill.  They've got key appropriators like David Obey irked at them, publicly so, and high-profile critics like Diane Ravitch running around the country soaking up the glory and support that used to be reserved for golden boy Arne Duncan.  They've got defectors on the House education committee too, like Rep. Chu, who are pushing back hard against some of the tougher parts of the administration's education agenda.  Meantime, the media narrative is slowly turning against them, including this week's critical-minded Claudio Sanchez segments on turnarounds at Beach HS and Annapolis. But I don't think this is just a unions vs. reform story that's going on. It's just as much about the economy and the elections. Especially on the turnaround front, school reform has gotten enmeshed with job security issues.  And House members and a third of the Senate have to get re-elected in a few months, so they have to be about their business rather than the President's - an inevitable rebalancing after months of whatever-Duncan-wants.  The reform types probably feel like they have to push as hard and fast as they can, but another way to go would be to consolidate and implement between now and 2011 so that when it comes time to figure out what to do next they can lay claim to some real-world accomplishments.

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