Everyone is abuzz about what the Scott Brown victory in the MA special election might mean for education. The answer is not much. The politics of education in the Senate are complicated enough that it’s unlikely to be a one or two vote issue. To the extent the outcome in MA further bolsters Republican strategists who believe that a strategy of “saving” the country from President Obama’s proposals is a political winner, then it’s that much less likely anything happens. Worth nothing, after the very untimely death of his chief of staff who was an education veteran, House Republican Leader Boehner brought on one of the architects of the Contract for America in her place. Hard to see something big happening on education if Boehner doesn’t want to seriously play ball as he did in 2001.
But the bigger news that has largely flown under the eduradar is that yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling in the Citizens United v. FCC (pdf) case has some big eduimplications as teachers’ unions were among the winners in terms of having more latitude to spend and influence political races than they already do. That’s a far-reaching decision.
Petrilli thinks a big flexibility bargain is in the works and the Administration is trial ballooning the idea, but absent real accountability hard to see that being a winner either. And considering how under-used the existing flexibility the law allows now is, it’s unclear if that’s the real problem here at all.