I suppose I should admit to seeing myself as an oddball. When compared to my friends whom have joined me in opposing the corporate/test-based reform movement, I enter the battle with a different resume. While its true I’m a public school teacher who is pro-union (Full disclosure: I will receive retirement benefits from the Major League Baseball Player’s Association in addition to those I will receive from Florida’s pension system) I have actively written in support of republican candidates. I also opposed Barack Obama’s candidacy. My transformation to the perspective I write from now was abrupt and epiphanic. The alteration of Florida’s education system by Rick Scott and his ideological privatization allies in the legislature was abominable in it’s heavy-handed treachery.
I’ve neither forsaken nor lost all past allegiances and philosophies and have been following republican presidential politics with interest. Today’s entry of Texas Governor Rick Perry into the race has the potential to be a pivotal moment in the battle for the soul of the nation’s education policy.
Rick Perry – who will soon race to the top in polling numbers – is not part of the education reform clique. He might even turn into the anti-ed reformer who ends up with influence that trumps today’s establishment republicans. Perry’s feud with Texas’ first republican family named Bush is well-known in political circles.
So vigorous is that feud that the Bush family and it’s loyalists actively pushed Senator Kaye Bailey Hutchison into the primary to challenge Perry. A politician of unique skill, Perry dispatched of Hutchison in what seemed to be just a few weeks time during the run-up to the primary. The popular and well-respected US senator was never a factor in her bid to unseat Perry.
Are roots of the Bush-Perry feud based in education policy.? They could be. Perry was openly critical of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and told him it was bad policy. As governor, Perry refused to enter the RTTT sweepstakes and pulled out of a state organization which was pushing common core standards. Perry even enjoys support from a few teacher associations within the state.
His description of NCLB as a “monstrous intrusion into our affairs” is likeliest embedded in an appreciation for state sovereignty. But what has been realized by opponents who oppose current education reformers like Jeb Bush and Arne Duncan is that NCLB and RTTT serve as their aganda’s elixir. Perry’s presence in the race along with another NCLB opponent in Michelle Bachmann will at the very least cause a platform fight over education at next summer’s GOP convention in Tampa. If education policy becomes an issue in republican primaries before then, and even better outcome could be in the offing:
UPDATE: Apparently, Valerie Strauss sees similarly.