Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child

Elitism in '08

vonzastrowc's picture

scarecrow_oz.gifCommentators have noticed that education was absent from yesterday's presidential debate. This just weeks after the masters of the Ed in '08 campaign closed up shop and declared victory in their quest to make education the election's top issue.

Bloggers have suggested credible reasons for Ed in '08's premature demise: The market inferno sucked all the oxygen out of the education debate. Wall Street failures damaged the reputation of business-inspired education reforms favored by Ed in 08's funders.

Yet the elections revealed another force that may have hindered Ed in '08's plans: politicians' scorn for intellectual achievement. When candidates competing for high office equate expertise or learning with "elitism," we all have a harder time advocating high academic standards. Anyone who says Americans need greater knowledge or higher skills faces some strong cultural and political headwinds.

Yet as wecome to grips with the incredible complexity of our economic and environmental problems, the winds may be shifting....