Now we're talking:
As Digby explains, we are being presented with a false choice in this election: Romney's stark austerity vs. Obama's "grand bargain," which ain't so grand. There is a better way: a progressive growth strategy, based on investment in the country fueled by a real progressive tax structure. Nothing would be better for the free market, the middle class, or democracy.
Part of that strategy would be to fully fund public education to ensure that every child learns in a beautiful school populated by well-paid, highly-qualified, dedicated professionals (not TFA kids looking to pad their resumes). It would keep class sizes small and provide a curriculum that was broad and deep (as opposed to the high-stakes, test-based curriculum pushed by the Obama administration).
Teachers would be held accountable by changing education to make it like every other profession: one that sets its own standards, with outside advice and consent. Standards for admission to teaching programs in college would be raised (like in Finland and other countries), and so would teacher pay.
Most importantly: teachers would not be blamed for the "failure" of students who come from high-poverty backgrounds. Instead, teachers who took on the challenge of teaching these children would be given all the resources and help they need, and would be held in the highest regard. And we would stop listening to hacks, paid by the ultra-wealthy, who keep trying to sell us the magic beans of charter schools and merit pay and VAM and all that other nonsense as a cure for poverty. Instead, we'll tax these elitists at pre-Reagan levels and use the money to enact a program of true economic justice.
That's a real education agenda, and a part of a real progressive agenda for economic growth. To be clear: it is not the Obama program, let alone Romney's. We need to look elsewhere to find politicians to carry this load. Again, I'm not throwing my vote away this election; Romney is horrible and can not be let into the White House under any circumstances.
But Barack Obama is not nearly good enough for our times or our schools. We need to do better.