Longtime readers of this blog won't be surprised at Barack Obama's willingness to talk about vouchers more openly than others. He's said all this before (From 2006: Vouchers & Obama In The 2008 Primaries, from 2005: Open Minded On Education, from 2004: Obama and Vouchers). And indeed I've pointed out that more and more Dems have gone over to the voucher side, whether it's about DC schools or Katrina victims. On substantive grounds, the pure antivoucher position is a tough one to maintain. Especially given the existence of vouchers for higher ed (ie, Pell grants).
What's different here is that Obama's in a close race for the Dem. nomination, and that his comments follow on similarly unorthodox remarks on charters. This is the opposite of pandering to the teachers unions and labor. He's saying he's above all that, and can say what he wants and is right. Which is either true, or incredibly hubristic. Right now, he's still winning union endorsements. But if his candidacy falls apart, and labor plays a part in that, we'll all look back to this and wonder if it was part of the reason.
Filed under: Campaigns & Clout