In a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece, Bill Keller notes that the 1989 fatwa against author Salmon Rushdie was never about religion, but about political advantage. Similarly, argues Keller, the present upheaval in the Middle East over a “cheesy anti-Muslim video” is neither spontaneous nor religiously-motivated, but political organized.
I have been thinking the same thing about the apparently bipartisan effort to “reform” the schools that seems to have begun with No Child Left Behind but that probably must be traced back to A Nation at Risk and even to Sputnik and the National Defense Education Act in the late 1950s. It’s not about the schools; it’s about politics. It’s not about lack of student achievement or about the need for choice; it’s about securing political dominance for a peculiar version of a conservative political position.