In reading this article by David Denby on long-time education reformer Diane Ravitch, I was struck by how much things have changed. Around 1980, Ravitch was considered a conservative and was supporting the conservative cause of a national school curriculum. From the perspective of 2012, a national school curriculum doesn’t sound very conservative at all! France has a national school curriculum. On the right wing of the American conservative movement you have home-schoolers, charter-schoolers, and people who oppose public education entirely; on the moderate side of the conservative spectrum are the supporters of federalism and states’ rights. In an era in which it’s a rare politician who even admits to believing in evolution, it’s hard to picture a national school curriculum as a cause that conservatives would support.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.