The End Is Nigh! Part Deux! Gordon Gone Wild!

Now Gordon’s Gone Wild! Former Kerry aide, current informal Edwards advisor, and Center for American Progress staffer Robert Gordon lets loose in The New Republic.

Too many pointed comments to excerpt (and Howard Dean comes in for a few stern rebukes along with the teachers’ unions), read the entire thing. Nonetheless, here’s the gist:

I was one of Kerry’s education advisers during the general election. I previously worked for–and have since advised–Edwards. The views expressed here are my own, but I bear plenty of responsibility for the developments described. Yet the attitudes of the candidates reflected the attitudes of the party. Top congressional Democrats today say nothing different…

In emphasizing resources, Democrats evade questions of culture and institutions. Those matter, too. It matters whether we set high expectations for schools and teachers or accept mediocrity, and whether we impose consequences for failure or excuse it. That Republicans are fond of making these points–and unions and school officials are not fond of hearing them–does not make them less true.

Progressives are misled by the logic of their own Bush-hatred: Bush is for nclb, so nclb must be bad. Never mind that President Clinton embraced accountability before President Bush, Governor Ann Richards before Governor Bush. As the demands of nclb mount, and as resistance to those demands spreads into conservative strongholds like Texas and Utah, many progressives are joining the fun. But opportunistic attacks are not an affirmative agenda…

…Strengthening teaching requires changes to the pay system and school culture that abet mediocrity. Standing alone, the usual liberal solution–across-the-board pay hikes–perpetuates the maldistribution of good teachers and reinforces the irrelevance of achievement. High-poverty schools need to attract more teachers with bonuses, and all schools need to attract better teachers with the promise of higher earnings for better results.

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