Right Thinking From The Left Coast
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Politics of Education

Do you remember the scandal that ensued when it turned out the Bush Administration was violating the Hatch Act by briefing federal employees on Republican electoral prospects? Or the furor than ensued among progressives when it came to light?

That’s OK.  They’ve forgotten it too:

President Obama’s top education official urged government employees to attend a rally that the Rev. Al Sharpton organized to counter a larger conservative event on the Mall.

“ED staff are invited to join Secretary Arne Duncan, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other leaders on Saturday, Aug. 28, for the ‘Reclaim the Dream’ rally and march,” began an internal e-mail sent to more than 4,000 employees of the Department of Education on Wednesday.

Sharpton created the event after Glenn Beck announced a massive Tea Party “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where King spoke in 1963.

Technically, this was not a violation of the Hatch Act, which forbids involvement in political campaigns not political rallies.  But it is highly inappropriate and ridiculously partisan. Even the liberal Brookings Institution thinks this was wrong, even if it wasn’t illegal.  As David Boaz notes, an internal Education Department e-mail urging people to attend the Beck rally (which was actually less political than the Sharpton one) would be met with howls of outrage.

But as Neal McCluskey points out, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Duncan declared education to be the “civil rights issue of our generation”.  This is coming from the Administration that murdered the successful DC Voucher program, is using the “Race to the Top” as a back door to support more spending, more union power and ill-advised national standards and, recently, let New Jersey miss out on RTTT funding because of an error on one of the forms.

If education is the civil rights issue of our time, Duncan is working for the establishment, not the opposition.  He can pretty up the agenda all he likes.  But it’s still the same old song and dance.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/03/10 at 06:49 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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