IOWA AND EDUCATION….Sara Mead writes about how it’s not just teachers unions that keep Democratic presidential candidates from embracing education reforms like charter schools and merit pay:
Two of the biggest obstacles are Iowa and New Hampshire….Both are very strong local control states, with incredibly weak charter school laws, no major urban areas, and low rates of poor and minority students. Iowa’s one of the highest performing states in the country on NAEP, and Iowans don’t take kindly to reforms that would mess with their system, and the caucus system gives undue weight to PTA-types, school board members, and other local leaders who tend to support the education status quo.
New Hampshire has one of the nation’s most retrograde school finance systems and strong opposition to doing anything about that. In short, these are lousy states to be trying to sell on reforms that strengthen centralized standards and accountability, expand public school choice, or focus on equity and improving education for poor and minority kids. The huge amount of time candidates spend in these states means they get an earful from locals about the evils of NCLB, and those kind of things do have an influence on campaigns’ and operatives’ thinking.
And here I thought Iowa was all about the corn. Guess I was wrong.
(The rest of the post is also worth reading. Sara gets in plenty of licks at the education reformers too.)