Our plan to get back on track: Is Candidate Clinton's knowledge of K-12 issues "vast and impressive?"
We find that somewhat hard to believe. We don't exactly mean that as a criticism.
Does Candidate Clinton "knows more about K–12 education than any other candidate remaining in either party’s race?"
Certainly, that could be true! On the other hand, that's very weak praise.
Public school issues are almost never discussed, in our press corps or in our campaigns, in any serious way.
The most basic information seems to be forbidden, off-limits, for those in the mainstream press corps. Beyond that, we rarely read work about low-income schools which makes us think that the author knows what he or she is talking about.
For what it's worth, a piece at Slate made both those statements about Candidate Clinton's knowledge of K-12 issues.
Jessica Huseman read the transcript of the candidate's recent interview with Newsday, much of which concerned public school issues. Huseman ended up saying this:
HUSEMAN (4/14/16): Even with her apparent depth of knowledge, Clinton left me unimpressed. Over a couple of winding answers to pretty clear questions from Newsday, Clinton managed to show how much she knows while simultaneously saying nothing of value. As she noted in the interview, she’s previously discussed her support of charter schools, national education standards, universal pre-kindergarten, and creative solutions to solving the achievement gap. She didn’t elaborate on her more interesting ideas, As she brings up often, she helped found Eagle Academy, a chain of all-boys charter schools. She says she’d like to see more gender-specific schools, especially for impoverished students, and she also mentioned “boarding schools for poor kids.” Not sure what that last one is all about, and Clinton didn’t explain. Nor did she say how the federal government could go about encouraging such things or where funding might come from. She doesn’t elaborate on any of this on her website either. Her issue page on K–12 education includes just a couple of basic bullet points and a 30-second video of her giving a bland speech while B-roll of smiling children flashes across the screen.We end up in a familiar place, with someone "being harder on Clinton than [she] would be on the GOP" and offering a slightly puzzling explanation for that state of affairs.
If it seems like I’m being harder on Clinton than I would be on the GOP, I'll say what I told my particularly precocious high school students when I was teaching: “I’m harder on you than everyone else because you can do more than everyone else.”
We keep trying to get back to that recent report in The Atlantic concerning low-income schools. That said, we're still so disgusted by Kevin Drum's post that we can't find a way to get back there.
Let's make a deal! Tomorrow, let's look at the explanations in that report for the nation's ongoing "achievement gap." What keeps our many terrific low-income kids from succeeding more fully in school?
Tomorrow, we'll try to beat back our disgust and return to that very key question.