Saturday, January 08, 2005

Armstrong Williams Sells His Soul

As a California classroom teacher that is interested in systemic reform of public education, I have very mixed feelings toward the No Child Left Behind Act. In some areas, the Act has had a positive effect, in others, it has not made much of a difference in the overall effectiveness of our educational system.

Clearly, additional change is necessary in order to address NCLB's deficiencies.

I firmly believe that the Bush administration
made a huge error in judgment paying "commentator" Armstrong Williams some $240,000 to promote shill the No Child Left Behind Act to the African American Community. This morning, I saw a clip on Fox News that featured an apologetic Williams lamenting his decision to accept cash in exchange for favorable commentary.

But as a pundit, its already too late for an apology to repair his credibility. According to Fox, his column has already been dropped from some newspapers.

Putting aside for the moment the ethical debate of spending throwing away the taxpayer's money in this fashion, making payments to anyone is an insult to all that have volunteered their time to advocate educational reform.

In the words of William Shakespeare, "Good wine needs no Bush."

The Act should have been debated upon it's merits, not promoted by some sort of "pay-to-play" scheme. It is stunts like this that give opponents to the Act useful ammunition in their efforts to block any continued reform of the nation's public education system.

Additional Commentary: Joanne Jacobs at also has the story. La Shawn Barber does an outstanding job discussing the ramifications of Williams' poor decision. Joe, over at The Moderate Voice has an excellent comprehensive piece on this episode. Our sometime ideological ally also chimes in with a well constructed two-part post. Jenny D. believes that efforts to implement further reform have been damaged.

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