Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is Pres. Obama Continuing the Ed Policies of Pres. Bush (43)?

Andy Rotherham has a post on Politico that clarifies the issue of policy continuity between the Obama and Bush (43) administrations. Rotherham says that there is "some overlap" between the education agendas of President Bush (43) and President Obama, as there was between President Bush (43) and President Clinton, and between President Clinton and President Bush (41). Rotherham says that "anyone expecting radical deviations from the path we’re on will likely be disappointed" by President Obama's policy proposals.

For the past fifteen years or so the dual and complementary ideas of standards and accountability and expanding school choice – at least within the public system – have largely driven the education debate, so it’s not surprising that there is a fair amount of common ground today.

After all, some of Bush’s key allies on the issue were Democrats in Congress including current leaders like Senator Kennedy and Congressman George Miller.

And today’s...reform thrusts have a bipartisan pedigree tracing to reformist governors from both parties.
Rotherham thinks the thing to watch for is not changes in policy (I respectfully disagree with Andy on this) from one administration to another, but President Obama's political skill (certainly important, I agree) in dealing with critics and interest groups on the path to getting the reforms (like merit pay) that President Obama calls for.

I wonder if another possibility isn't continuity of rhetoric, but changes in actual policy.

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