I just want to clarify something that I said earlier. A broadbased educational reform has nothing to do with calling anyone stupid. For the most part, everyone here - right and left - are smart. Edw and Rich Lederer are two of the archest of conservatives and two of the smartest people I know.
What I meant, in the clearest of terms, is that I think the basic problems of our society all go back to the failure of our educational system. "No Child Left Behind" is a simple travesty in construction and in funding. That bill is the latest of the thousands of bills and the Federal, State, and local levels that have left our educational system a shambles.
The left and right are to blame (and I shouldn't leave out whatever center is left.) The right sought to blur the lines of church and state through vouchers while the left fell victim to pandering to the powerful teachers unions.
Where we are left is a crumbling system that works for the few at the expense of the many. Private schools do well, but only the well-heeled or lucky get that benefit. Most of our tax dollars are thrown into a money-burning operation with so little done to help the actual children. Instead "it's for the children" has become a rallying cry.
For a Mac guy, this is an odd promo, but the Gates Foundation is doing transformative work on high schools, work that needs more grassroots support.
Our educational system needs to stop being about tests and start being about learning. In the end, it's impossible for our country to move forward if much of our population is either disinterested by intelligent discourse or unable to adequately participate. John Kerry is both stentorian and sonorous, but neither do we need the malapropism of the Yale to Harvard Bush to talk directly down to the people.
Education is not about calling anyone stupid. It's about making sure we never have to do so.