Governor Kitzhaber’s latest attempt to reform education in Oregon took a major step forward today with his Oregon Education Investment Board’s hire of Rudy Crew as the state’s first Chief Education Officer, our very own education czar.
Not to be too cynical, Dr. Crew may have the best of intentions, but he’s signed on for an impossible job. Integrating pre-K through graduate school into one well-oiled machine will be a super-political exercise, but he’s admitted that he didn’t pay much attention to the politics in his previous education positions in other states. Ideally, education shouldn’t be political, but as long as taxes fund the system and government builds and operates the schools then politics will be a more important consideration than what’s best for individual children.
Dr. Crew apparently is supportive of charter schools and introducing technology and online learning into the system (positions the teachers union won’t like at all). In January he was named president of Revolution K12, an education software company in California. Elaborating on one of the benefits of working for such a company, here’s what Crew said in a February interview:
You got an opportunity to think and develop and design in ways that were not inhibited by the natural impediments in public schools. You don’t have to go through committees and board reports and so forth. There is a different way by which things get developed, and there is a more nimble way that things get brought into the market.
Good thoughts, but they’re anathema to the Status Quo Lobby, better known as the teachers union.
The teachers union will be more supportive of Crew’s opposition to real school choice; choice that includes private schools. It was this opposition that got him fired from his job as chancellor of New York City’s public schools in 1999.
Exactly how this will all shake out is unknowable, but the end result is pretty clear. I predict this effort will be as successful as Dr. Kitzhaber’s first big education reform effort when he was Senate President in 1990 —- the Education Act for the 21st Century with its CIM and CAM tests (long since abandoned).
Who said “those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”?
For my analysis of what’s wrong with Governor Kitzhaber’s Oregon Education Investment Board reform effort, and with our monopoly public education system itself, see:
• Oregon Education Investment Board – Top Down on Steroids
• Three Strikes and You’re Out: Replacing Top-Down Education Control with School Choice
• Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
• Forced Participation: Public Education’s Fatal Flaw