The other day an Eduwonk reader wondered where Robert Reich was in his on-again and off-again support for vouchers. Looks like off because this commentary would have been the place to mention it. Two other quick thoughts:
Per Reich’s education tax proposal, big national tax plans for education have the allure of sounding like great big radical ideas, but in terms of policymaking they’re not serious ideas because they stand almost no chance of becoming law. Meanwhile, state reforms, including statewide property taxes (and other statewide taxes), have the potential to help address the inequity problem. Though interstate disparities obviously exist, the basic issue at hand is much less property taxes per se than the reliance on localized property taxes that disadvantage low-income communities.
In terms of the high school part in Reich’s commentary, Bill Gates and the governors were not really talking about tests — in fact there was not much love for the president’s plan to require states to expand testing to high schools at the summit. Rather, Gates was talking about equity and how poor and minority kids systematically get the short end of the stick. That problem should be a theme animating the Democratic left but it means tough choices and tough conversations with allies. Big schemes are a lot easier.