Mixed Up EduWorld

Remember that old song by the Kinks? (If not, click here, rated PG-13)

Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls. It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world.

Well, I gotta confess, I find myself singing a version of “Lola” to myself quite often these days when pondering the Big Issues in education politics. [Note: This has nothing to do with a certain mature-themed cowboy flick per this, this or this, etc., though Eduwonk may well be right that all roads will ultimately lead us back to Blogback Mountain.]

Ds will be Rs, and Rs will be Ds. It’s a mixed up, muddled up edu-world.

Seems like there are more and more “strange bedfellows,” unconventional alliances and unprecedented splits on Big Issues: NCLB, choice, charters, assessment, teacher assignment and compensation, transparency, and even boys and girls (as in boys are the new girls). So much so that advocates like me are finding ourselves in heated debate on a number of issues with lifelong friends and historic allies. On both the traditional “left” and “right” conventional ways of thinking and organizing are going out the window. Even the center is divided: between the inertia-driven defenders of the established order and the new “radical centrists” who are bound neither by precedent nor ideology. The muddle goes beyond the scandalous reports of the NEA taking up company with the ultra-conservative Republican Study Group, or their re-packaging the Newt Gingrich “Contract with America” and arguing the Right’s case, a decade later, against “unfunded mandates.” Or the Heritage Foundation taking the opposite position on the same question. There are conservatives talking national standards, race-consciousness, school finance equity. And the whispering among some fed-up liberals about how vouchers ought to be granted under some limited circumstances is so widespread it’s almost an audible mantra. Where’s this all going? Don’t know, but it’s going fast. Buckle up for a wild ride! Guestblogger Dianne Piche

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