School choice. Charter schools. Merit pay for teachers. These and other ideas for reforming public schools have long been opposed by Michigan's teachers' unions and the lawmakers in Lansing who accept their support.
Usually, those lawmakers tend to be members of the Democratic Party. That's why a new development in the politics of school reform is so significant: The Democratic Leadership Councilthe national voice of the moderate wing of the Democratic Partyhas just issued a sweeping call for education reform.
The organization's president, Al From, is calling for a complete reformation of the public school system, embracing public school choice, merit pay for teachers, charter schools, character education, and even performance contracts for schools.
Until now, such proposals have come mostly from Republicans. But the endorsement of the Democratic Leadership Council sends a clear signal that the days of partisanship in education reform may be over.
And why not? It's about time politicians stopped worrying about who gets the credit and started putting children first. As Al From says, "The time has come for a whole new look at public education, a total transformation of how we educate our children."
Amen to that. Let's get started.
For the Mackinac Center, I'm Catherine Martin.