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Thompson: Hess Might Be In The Wrong Line Of Business, Too

First-Mars-Curiosity-imagesIn his latest post (Edu-Leaders: Get Over Your Policy Alergies), AEI's Rick Hess again demonstrates his blunt streak, showing why a liberal like me prefers him to my party's own accountability hawks.   When "smart, talented leaders complain about ill-conceived accountability systems," Hess tells them to, "get over themselves." 

Unlike the President whom I support, Hess doesn't deny that today's "reforms" are making a bad situation worse. And, during the last few decades of market-driven economic policies that Hess might support, educators have not been as damaged and humiliated as most American workers.  Yes, maybe we should get over the damage done to us adults, but we should not accept the harm being done to our students' futures.  Consequently, I can't agree with his second statement that if you challenge the destruction of our educational values (or the harm being done to working families?), then "you're probably in the wrong line of work."

Hess correctly notes that politics have always intruded into schooling and that the public has rejected the old-fashioned system where accountability wasn't much of a factor.  I suspect that Hess would agree that the educational system, which we Baby Boomers loved, grew out of New Deal/Fair Deal politics.  That late, lamented system of safety nets was virtually accountability-free.  As an academic, I contributed (from the Left) to the long indictment of liberal programs from FDR to LBJ.  But, they helped create the greatest economic miracle in human history.  The educational "status quo," including our unions, contributed to some of our nation's greatest social justice triumphs.  

So, if a pundit cannot recognize why educators are upset with the damage that corporate-driven reforms have done to our schools, as well as our economy and political culture, should he seek another line of work?  Or is he perfectly suited for the mess we find ourselves in today? JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.




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Well, in a way, him being incorrect about that both supports and discredits his aptitude. On one hand, it’s a gross oversight. On the other, he’s clearly honest and at least attempted to reach his own conclusion.

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