Now we're discovering cracks in the foundation. It turns out we don't agree on what we want, or on how we get schools to deliver it.
The recent debate over an article by Robert Pondiscio has brought this conflict further out into the open. So has Jeb Bush's latest attempt to cast a vision for education reform, in which he dramatically reverses his earlier commitment to rigid, top-down systems of "accountability" in favor of radical disruption, diversity and parent choice.
Jay Greene is right that this is not really a debate about Left v. Right but a debate about technocracy—rigid and centralized systems of control, using narrow and reductive quantitative metrics, that give enormous power to a special class of education experts on the theory that we can trust them to be all-knowing, benevolent and apolitical. There are plenty of technocrats on the Right, and plenty of anti-technocrats on the Left.