Their is an illuminating bit of trivia about all this in an obituary today in the New York Times. The quote that follows begins with the obit’s headline and lede, then a sample of the deceased’s liberal stripes, and concludes with a paragraph (in red) noting the fact that he supported George W. Bush’s education initiative.
William Taylor, Vigorous Rights Defender, Dies at 78
William L. Taylor, who as a lawyer, lobbyist and government official for more than a half century had significant roles in pressing important civil rights cases and in drafting and defending civil rights legislation, died Monday in Bethesda, Md. He was 78 and lived in Washington.
Mr. Taylor is also credited with helping to devise a strategy by liberals to defeat President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987, partly by recruiting well-known law professors to criticize him.
Mr. Taylor could sometimes be unpredictable, as when he openly supported President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law to overhaul education. Liberal critics called the measure punitive, poorly financed and too oriented toward standardized tests.
Yet Taylor was not convinced. As he probably foresaw, standardized educational tests do not lift all students to an equal and meaningful level of excellence. Instead the forced sameness of learning to the tests tends to settled more and more kids into the same level of mediocrity. Senator Ted Kennedy, who was a visceral and relentless liberal and leveler, is another example, like Taylor, who pushed the Bush vision called No Child Left Behind.
Showing his deep leftist core, Obama has not abandoned No Child Left Behind. Instead he is spending billions of dollars on what he calls Race to the Top. The name of that program belies its actual structure and goal. This, Obama’s major education initiative so far, is trying only to boost “failing schools.” He is building a welfare state of public education where youngsters are promoted with low grades, while billions are spent to push children’ scores a bit higher at the worst schools. The effect is not only to lock in a median mass — but to almost ignore education policy that would reward individual achievement. Assessment is made equal for all, while opportunity to learn settles into a media that gets lower and lower.
Beware of the educator with a level in his hand.