Political conventions, it must be said, have lost their brio. (Nielsen reports that television ratings for them have declined unremittingly since 1980.) Which is not to say nothing interesting will happen this week in Denver; indeed, something already has. On Sunday was held the "Ed Challenge for Change" event, at which such nationally prominent Democrats as Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Colorado Governor Roy Romer convened to decry the lousy state of American public schools and challenge their party to do better. A big part of their message: reformers need not be shy about bucking the demands of teachers' unions. From the Rocky Mountain News: "‘We have been wrong in education,' Booker said of his party and its alliances with teachers unions that put adults before children. ‘It's time to get right.'" Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, told Education Week that she was "really pissed" about the meeting. "This was a couple of mayors, and I very much appreciate their efforts. But they're tearing down the people who they need to lift up," she said. Adrian Fenty of Washington, D.C., and Booker are not "a couple of mayors." They're national leaders, and we couldn't be happier with the strong, reform-minded stand they took on a national stage.
"Lesson plan: Put kids over teachers," by Nancy Mitchell, Rocky Mountain News, August 25, 2008
"Union Tensions at DNC," by Michele McNeil, Campaign K-12, August 24, 2008