Kerry On

If you want to read the newspaper stories about Kerry’s teacher quality proposals (and you should!) we’d recommend you read them in this order: Ron Brownstein and Maria L. LaGanga in the Los Angeles Times, then The New York Times, and finally The Washington Post only if you’re curious about how a major paper misses a big story. The first two stories — particularly Brownstein-LaGanga which is a must read — lay out both the policy importance and the significance of Kerry’s policy announcements yesterday.

If you’re too busy to read, here’s the gist: Kerry’s teacher plan is gutsy, full of important policy ideas, and easily the most interesting education proposal so far during the 2004 campaign. It includes proposals for differential pay, performance-based pay, mentoring for new teachers, more attention to low-performing schools, higher standards for new teachers, more accountability for schools of education, and faster dismissal for low-performing teachers. It sets a high bar for President Bush and hopefully portends an interesting debate to come. Although, if their reaction to the proposal today is any indication, this one may have caught the Bush-Cheney team flat-footed.

Addressing the teacher quality challenge is a big part of making No Child Left Behind work and Kerry’s opening bid about how to do so is a strong one. But you should still read the Brownstein article anyway, it’s that good. Must be that late LA deadline!

Afterthought: Maybe it’s not the deadline….in addition to being a great political reporter, Brownstein really understands the education stories. Richard Colvin must be smiling!

Bonus Afterthought: Kerry offers incentives to help get National Board Certified teachers to teach in hard-to-serve schools. It’s a good and long overdue idea.

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