Today’s USA Today includes an editorial page back and forth between the ed board and John Kerry. Basically, USA Today urges Kerry to Sister Souljah the National Education Association over NCLB. But this is not quite fair because implicitly Kerry has already done just that. The paper basically acknowledges as much, writing that
Kerry bashed the law during the primaries and complains that it is underfunded, though he voted for it and says he favors the tough accountability provisions at its core. But he hasn’t campaigned for a principle advanced by Bush and rejected by the NEA, reinforcing critics’ portrait of him as a waffler.
This is wrong (and the wrong yardstick). Take, for instance, Kerry’s teacher proposals, which also run counter to NEA policy and were not warmly received there. There is also a lot of daylight between Kerry’s NCLB position and the NEA’s. Most importantly, the paper itself says Kerry’s not backing away from the core of NCLB! What’s the issue?
Kerry responds by sensibly pointing out that: (a) Since the Democratic primaries there have been some changes to NCLB and (b) NCLB is necessary but not sufficient. It seems that USA Today’s real beef is with the NEA. That’s fine, but making Kerry guilty by association isn’t fair.