As President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and the philanthro-capitalists continue pushing education reforms based on standardized test scores, segregated charters, and the "no excuses" rhetoric capable of bring Newt Gingrich and the bought-off Rev. Sharpton together, teachers are left with a Democratic party that has moved - nay, sprinted - to the Right (or "center" if you buy into the right-leaning rhetoric of the corporatized media) while embracing all of the aforementioned reform proposals, which, incidentally, look an awful lot like Bush-era policies. The Democrats have failed us in multiple areas - healthcare, regulating Wall Street, tax cuts for the wealthy, the lack of environmental action, Afghanistan and Iraq, and, of course, education - but there are still a few level-headed apples amongst them.
Take Maine Representative Brian Bolduc (too bad he's not working at the federal level). Back in April, Mr. Bolduc - a certified high school social studies teacher - proposed a bill that would ban merit-pay based on test scores. The bill, sadly, was declared dead after a bit of debate, but Mr. Bolduc deserves credit for presenting a level-headed critique of why merit-pay is entirely inappropriate for the teaching profession. We need more Democrats like this guy; unfortunately, he's exactly the kind vilified by NY Times journalist Nicholas Kristof in today's paper for not adopting the market-based policies preferred by Duncan, Gates, and Broad.
Eli, in case you missed it, funded six pro-merit-pay policy papers in 2008, all conducted by the State Policy Network, a free-market think tank full of rabid anti-public school nutjobs and privatizers. Mr. Bolduc ran up against these Broad-funded market fundamentalists, the Maine Heritage Policy Center, which lobbied strongly against the level-headed proposal against merit-pay.
Send Mr. Bolduc an e-mail (address available here), offer him your support, and congratulate him on presenting one of the few good pieces of education legislation.