Bipartisanship seems to be breaking out on education again. Last Friday’s White House event to formally launch the administration’s waiver strategy was lousy with Republican governors and state education chiefs saying that while they disagree with the administration on a lot of things they love the new flexibility. This week in New York I helped Brian Williams with NBC’s Townhall with governors as part of Education Nation and asked Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (about minute 0.59)- head of the RGA – about all this talk about dismantling education.* He spoke up for state and local control but also talked about partnerships and declined to endorse the anti-Department of Education language we’re hearing on the campaign trail from the GOP candidates. So that’s great right?
A new consensus is emerging in education politics. But can the center hold? And would reformers even want it to? Bipartisanship is supposed to be a good thing — except for when Republicans and Democrats come together to try to paper over our education problems. That’s what worries me about the recent string of seemingly positive events.
One thing I am partisan about is the need for a vigorous and reliable media in our country. You can do your part to support that by clicking here and reading the entire column over at TIME’s site. It’s got Senator Lamar Alexander’s NCLB bill, waivers, ESEA rumors, and the disconnect between what states say excellence is and what it actually is.
*I also asked Maryland’s Martin O’Malley – head of the DGA – about why more Democratic governors aren’t working with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, given his pretty successful education record there? And I asked governors of both parties about why when we talk about a 21st Century education system all the time we still are content with a 19th Century approach to funding it – via a heavy reliance on localized property wealth? You can see all that on the video above starting about minute 59.