Ruth Marcus takes the occasion of Barack Obama’s very mild, but badly received, challenge to the National Education Association to note, first, that he was more interesting before he was a candidate and, second, that "Obama may be what passes for brave among a fainthearted bunch." Here’s her conclusion:
[S]o far, anyway, the Democrats who would be president are happy to propose more spending on education but are reluctant to impose any demands in return -- in other words, they are happy to sound like the same old Democratic Party, permissive and beholden.
Yes, teachers are an important Democratic constituency, but aren’t parents Democratic voters, too -- parents who might welcome a message about accountability and expectations? If, that is, one of the candidates were willing to deliver it.
With respect to education, two Democratic themes are on a collision course: "jobs" and "it’s about the children." The NEA really cares about the first. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the second.