Back in August President Obama gave a speech about education policy at Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas. Here’s a snippet posted in a blog piece…
Education should not be a Democratic or a Republican issue. It’s an American issue. It’s about what’s best for our kids. And I haven’t just talked the talk, I’ve walked the walk on this. Over the past four years, we’ve broken through the traditional stalemate that used to exist between the left and the right, between conservatives and liberals. We launched a national competition to improve all our schools. We put more money into it, but we also demanded reform. We want teachers to be paid better and treated like the professionals that they are. But we’re also demanding more accountability, including the ability of school districts to replace teachers that aren’t cutting it.
If you unpack this paragraph from his speech there is so much context underneath that bears further discussion and much of which I find particularly frustrating.
First of all, why shouldn’t education be a political issue? Isn’t the whole point of having a democracy to use it to bring a range of thinking to the table and continually find an ever-evolving consensus (or at least a working majority) to evolve our society and its institutions? What if he said, “Economic policy should not be a political issue, it’s about what’s best for the country”, would people accept that as well? Taking this argument to its logical end point, why have a political process at all?