After Tony “the Idol” Bennett’s ousting in November from Hoosier chiefdom, reform funders commissioned public-affairs experts ED 08 Associates and The Acropolis Group consulting firm on how the stalled reform movement can regain momentum. Herewith the executive summary of their report.
Like the Republican Party, the education-reform movement has been searching its soul, examining its slogans, and bickering over who’s in charge. Those who lost hard-fought elections in typically reform-minded states in November understandably wonder: Are our policies off and our principles awry? Is it just “message” and “tone”? (Or could it be our weird spokespersons?)
Well, be of good cheer, reformers. Our state-of-the-art research has found that your policy prescriptions are still popular with the unwashed masses whose tax dollars you crave, whose children you yearn to change, whose neighborhood schools you insist on closing, and whose favorite teachers you are bent on firing. All you need to do is change your messaging and explain your intentions in focus-group-validated language uttered by hypnotically beautiful spokespeople.
We’ve learned that your present message is too often perceived as “dour,” “tough,” “mean,” and “divisive.” You must become the...