I’m dreaming of a white paper, just like the ones I used to read…

Between the America’s Promise report on graduation, the Center on Education Policy report on School Improvement Grants, and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report on education and national security, education reporters have their reading lists for the week. No need for real news: press conferences are all (though I have sympathies for the flacks who had been planning PR for any one of these assuming that they might have no competition).

Three brief points about the CFR report:

  • Unlike other education blue-ribbon commissions, this one has dissents, and they’ll get some significant news coverage.
  • The arguments to strengthen the common core and also expand voucher programs are contradictory, unless someone is arguing that schools receiving vouchers have to sign on to curricular standards.
  • The CFR is about eight years behind where I would have expected them to have been on this — if there had been an “education and national security” panel in the years after the 9/11 attacks, it would have had more impact. As I have told many classes in the past decade, the pattern in postwar national debates on education is to call on schools to fight whatever the national battle is, so I fully expected schools to be called on to help fight the Global War on Terror, as former President Bush called it. To any John Birchers who read my blog, you should at least be able to comfort yourself that CFR is losing whatever touch you attribute to it.