As we head toward Easter Sunday, it's worth noting that hope is alive and well in the education reform world when it comes to President Obama's stimulus bill. While it's true that I don't generally share the optimism on this one, I also would prefer the optimists to be right.
I've already offered plenty of reasons to believe that the states won't be able to marshal these dollars toward meaningful reform, but here's one reason that they might: the emergence of smart, focused, passionate education reform advocacy organizations at the state level.
The best known of these include EdVoice in California and ConnCan in Connecticut, but new ones are popping up every day. These aren't think tanks. They are no-nonsense advocacy organizations that know how to drive a policy agenda.
I've gotten to know a bunch of them through our work with the Policy Innovators in Education Network, which Fordham helped to create (along with the Center for American Progress, the Center for Reinventing Public Education, and Education Sector). If anyone at the state level can figure out how to use these stimulus dollars in...