The GOP’s Shifting School Reform Agenda

I have a new piece up at Slate about how the Tea Party-Christian conservative mind meld on education–anti-standards, pro-homeschooling, pro-culture war meddling with curriculum–has become more and more mainstream within the Republican Party. The trend is epitomized by figures like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, who have both made protest against the federal role in school reform a cornerstrone of their political careers. 

I didn't have space to get to this in the Slate piece, but there are two other major things happening right now within the GOP on education. First, House Republicans would like to allow school districts to redirect Title I funding, which is intended to serve low-income students, to other programs and less needy populations. Second, at the state level, Republican governors are rediscovering the issue of private school vouchers. 

2 thoughts on “The GOP’s Shifting School Reform Agenda

  1. joshua

    I find the argument unpersuasive. You conflate a nebulous parenting rights movement with tenthers and advocates of local control. You list Republican supporters of parents rights without connecting it to your thesis that they want to teach God in schools. It’s not evident to me that they are the same. Some of these are libertarian, not Christian conservative. Bachmann seems to have changed to more tenther rhetoric over time and become less of a culture warrior. I don’t see that as the story of her recent success.

  2. Andrew

    In response to the Joshua’s comment:

    While I do agree that Bachmann has moved towards a more tenther position politically, I disagree with your overall statement. Goldstein’s article clearly does not state that all parents rights advocates want to teach God in schools. The central point of the Slate article is to take an overview of the changing position of the GOP in regards to school reform. While Goldstein does make mention of the parenting rights movement when talking about Bachmann’s past, she does not in anyway make her argument apply to the parenting rights movement but rather to the TEA Party. Even when talking about the natural affinity between the parents rights movement and the TEA Party, Goldstein is clear in differentiating the two.


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