The Dog Whistle SOTU? – Updated

My short take on the speech is up over at The Times. The education passages didn’t have a lot of substance but they did have some interesting signals.  Here’s a bit of backstory on Bruce Randolph, the school Obama singled out.  Fascinating choice…

Update: Sara Mead on SOTU here. And also with more here.

Update II: One other aspect of this I didn’t get to in the NYT reax item is prospects for more Race to the Top funding in the new Congress.  On the one hand, by calling it the most meaningful education reform in a generation the President doesn’t really give Republicans in the House much of an incentive to hand him a victory on it.  On the other, in general if a president really wants something like this they can get it if they’re willing to push and/or trade enough.  The education insiders I survey for Whiteboard generally think that any future funding will be quite modest and it is unclear tonight how last night’s speech changed that.

Update III: More Bruce Randolph via Denver Post. Just a few years out it’s easy to forget how contentious this fight was in the district and in the state legislature over the law allowing schools to do this statewide.  The teachers union fought this one hard in both venues.  Overlooked story angle?  A black swan? How many schools in CO have subsequently done this?

Update IV: BW’s Rachael Brown on the SOTU at The Atlantic.

Update V: John Merrow with his thoughts on the Bruce Randolph angle and NPR takes a deeper look at the school itself.  Also, a round-up of takes from Flypaper. And they’re debating the speech at the NYT.

2 Replies to “The Dog Whistle SOTU? – Updated”

  1. I appreciated your post on the New York Times. It was great to get some real-time feedback during the SOTU. I don’t understand why you took the cheap shot at the AFT & the NEA though. My local union negotiated some great language, which helps us ‘micro-bargain’ site-specific contracts for schools in 2009 (modeled after language first negotiated in Connecticut) thanks to steadfast support of the American Federation of Teachers. Last year we negotiated election-to-work agreements for 4 school programs and we may have 12 this year by this February 15th.

    We have found them to be a healthy alternative to the traditional top-down restructuring plans usually handed down.

    In addition to this contract language, we’re on pace to have an approved process to explore & receive approval to operate a district school as a “site-governed” school. Our union’s work has moved forward on this because Minnesota’s site-governed schools law is heir to our landmark charter school law, where district schools can operated with the muscle of a large district and the agility of a charter school.

    We’re excited about these, and many more, ideas in action our local union has championed. Unions evolve and adapt, like any natural system. I hope your stereotype of all of us, my national union & my local union, can evolve, too.

    Thank you!

    Mary Cathryn Ricker
    Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Local 28
    Saint Paul, MN

  2. MCR:

    “A cheap shot at the Unions”, please.

    Yes, we have all seen the Unions evolve and adapt as demonstrated on the You Tube video “Teachers Unions Gone Wild”.

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