"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spellings and the Art of the Glib Denial

Editorial from the Toledo Blade:
A bid for Ohio votes
Coming as it did just two weeks before Ohioans go to the polls, the announcement of a forthcoming federal grant of $1 million or so to Toledo Public Schools for teacher bonuses can’t be viewed as anything but a pre-election ploy.

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings glibly denied that the timing of the announcement, which also included funds for Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati teachers, had anything to do with the Nov. 7 election.


If there is one thing well understood by the Republican majority that controls Congress, the White House, and the entire federal bureaucracy, it’s political timing. And, despite a spring timetable for application for the grants, it wouldn’t take clairvoyance by congressional leaders to plan last year for a program to hand out money just before crucial mid-term elections in a key state like Ohio.

In short, the $20 million allocated for Ohio over five years is simply the bidding price for votes to support GOP politicians who now find themselves — if polls are to be believed — on the brink of an electoral thrashing.

Perhaps the Republican strategists believe that thousands of Ohio’s unionized teachers will be so pleased by the prospect of $2,000 a year bonuses that they will be less likely to vote a straight Democratic ticket on Nov. 7.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is the timing of the grant that we find questionable at best and another case of cynical politics at worst. We favor rewarding teachers for demonstrated good work, even though the concept is mostly anathema to the teachers’ unions. . .

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