NRO: Kerry College Plan to Undermine the Republic!

We knew the stakes were high in the coming election but had no idea just what was at stake. Writing on National Review Online William Dennis says that Senator Kerry’s college aid plan is not only bad policy but “harmful to a free society”!!!

The Kerry camp can probably rest easy on this one. If the freshest criticism of Kerry’s plan to link some college aid to national service is a tired rehash of the old arguments against national service, then they’re in pretty good shape on this issue.

PS–Dennis isn’t completely wrong. We still don’t know enough about the interaction between college aid and institutional behavior, and it may well exert a negative influence. But, while researchers and analysts sort that out it’s OK to advance policies expanding access to higher education.

Historical Brown Out?

Jonathan Zimmerman writes in the LA Times that one legacy of Brown is sanitized textbooks and incomplete, milquetoast history. Pretty provocative stuff in the midst of the Brown anniversary, but it’s hard to argue with Zimmerman’s main point.

And it’s probably OK to acknowledge an unintended side effect of Brown now, fifty years later, right? After all, hardly anyone thinks now that Brown was a bad idea. No one now in government would have written something like,

“I realize that it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position for which I have been excoriated by liberal colleagues, but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed.”

Of course not, no one! Surely not the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in a memo to Justice Jackson, for whom who he clerked during Brown

Want more of a Zimmerman fix? Check out Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools.

Spec Ed and Testing

John Merrow gives one of the best popular media treatments we’ve seen of the difficult issues involved in assessing students with special needs in this News Hour segment. Though we think the report does not adequately disentangle the differences between state and federal policy requirements (and also IDEA) or give viewers enough understanding of the flexibility NCLB allows for assessing disabled students, it’s well worth a look at the transcript.

Bonus content! Really like alternative assessments and special ed or just want to learn more? This article provides a good overview of some of the issues.