Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown on education

So, we're sending Scott Brown off to Washington. What are his positions on education?
I grabbed this off of his website:

I am passionate about improving the quality of our public schools. Accountability and high standards are paramount. I support choice through charter schools, as well as the MCAS exam as a graduation requirement. I have worked to ensure that all children have access to a quality education. I am a strong advocate for the METCO program, which provides lower income students with broader educational opportunities.

So, what does that mean?

The first two sentences are basically political boilerplate: everyone wants to improve the quality of our schools, and everyone favors "accountability and high standards." Those two words have been used to support everything from standardized testing to school closures to increased funding (and I'll bet you can find them on nearly everyone's website, too). Charters are pretty broadly supported right now (recall that the Democratic president has the same position). Support for MCAS isn't a big surprise: it came in under a Republican governor ('though this had nothing to do with Brown, as he wasn't elected to office yet), and has bipartisan support in Massachusetts. Supporting METCO (especially in a year when communities are going to struggle to pay for it) is a big plus, particularly if he backs it up with money.

From here, I tracked down his voting record (slim; I take it he didn't vote on the Ed Reform bill? I guess it was during the campaign). We get that he opposed (with, it looks like, the Republicans in the Senate) the reorganization that happened when Governor Patrick came into office.

I also haven't found any public statements he's made on education.

He hasn't taken the Political Courage test.

He served on the Education committee.

I think this boils down to someone for whom this hasn't been a core issue (and I don't, by the way, think that this would be much difference with Martha Coakley). I wonder if that will change in Washington, or if his focus will be elsewhere?

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