The Mess In Motown

Per this post, the new teachers’ contract in Detroit is not a breakthrough in terms of teaching and learning and doesn’t even hold the promise of a breakthrough to come soon.  My take from today’s Detroit News op-ed page.

One Reply to “The Mess In Motown”

  1. Does Eduwonk = MoveOn?

    I get the politics here. The unions are hoping that minor concessions will be heralded as major breakthroughs, so that they can ease the pressure the right and center are putting on them (particularly in hot zones like DC).

    But what I do think is a propos about this equation is that the radical center (epitomized by Eduwonk) is contenting itself with mere sunshine, just as MoveOn (the left in the health care debate) is. That is, both Eduwonk and MoveOn are showing just how “shameful” the compromises that the self-styled reformers are making — but not showing how they are supposed to avoid making these compromises to make progress.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The question remains, so what? Deflating the Bobb balloon is fine — but it would be better, and much more practical, if Eduwonk could explain just what Bobb, or the good citizens of Detroit, or Michigan, or anyone else was supposed to do. Would it have been better, after all, if Bobb declared DPS bankrupt and unilaterally imposed an ideal contract? I wouldn’t be against this path in principle, but I’d love to know the potential policy and political costs of taking it. Should a mass movement, a la Steve Barr’s Parent’s Union, mobilize against the contract that Bobb and the union agreed to? Do we have any evidence that such action would work?

    If Eduwonk doesn’t address the politics of the thing (and Eduwonk has been great about raising the importance of politics for years), he risks sounding as though it doesn’t know that governing means choosing — and becoming irrelevant to the very leaders trying to enact what he and others have been advocating.

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