Michael Bennet dubbed powerful education force by Time magazine

michael bennet photo cropped.jpg
Michael Bennet.
"School of Thought: 11 Education Activists for 2011," just published by Time magazine, contains some predictable names (Michelle Rhee) and some surprising ones (Jeb Bush?). But the highest ranking elected official cited is Senator Michael Bennet, who's been getting a gusher of positive press thanks to his status as one of the few vulnerable Dems to survive the Attack of the Tea Party. Here's what the mag had to say:

Michael Bennet: The Senator

If the federal No Child Left Behind law is modified this year, or if anything else significant happens in Washington on education policy, this Colorado Democrat will be at the center of it. Bennet, who was Denver's superintendent of schools before being appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat in 2009, beat the odds in November and won a full term. He's tight with the President and has credibility with moderates in both parties. For these reasons, he'll be a powerful force when the debate about teacher effectiveness and school accountability heats up in Congress.

As Bennet aide Michael Amodeo notes, the Time blurb represents the second time this week the Colorado senator has been singled out by a major political news organ. On January 2, The Hill listed a handful of Democratic power players who'll be entrusted to defend the party against the rise of the right, and Bennet is mentioned fifth, after Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin and Max Baucus. The Hill snippet reads:

Bennet won one of the toughest Senate reelections of 2010 and earned new respect for his political toughness and instincts. He turned down an offer to head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to concentrate on legislating.

Democratic aides expect Bennet to portray himself as a post-partisan legislator focused on problem solving. His desire for bipartisan compromise and his expertise on education issues could make him a pivotal player when the No Child Left Behind Act comes up for reauthorization in 2011. Bennet served as superintendent of Denver's public schools before joining the Senate in 2009.

Such are the spoils of victory.

More from our Politics archive: "Michael Bennet camp on how the hell he avoided being swept under by Republican tsunami."

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Time Magazine will soon go the way of Newsweek. Bennet is an aloof elitist, and DPS is a joke. Worst of all, Bennet has no regard for tradition. Just yesterday, I received his idiotic e-mail outlining his plan to revise Senate filibuster rules. He knows little of history, and therefore cannot be a force in anything remotely associated with education.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Druid0621, interesting about the filibuster rules e-mail. Thanks for commenting.


Right -- Bennet is a "powerful education force" (whatever that might be) on the strength of having made our obligation to pay teachers' pensions a balloon mortgage, or was it the brilliant performance of Denver's schools? From the DPS website:

"Facts & Figures

Denver Public Schools is thriving."

-- if our schools are conceived of as a monlithic entity, otherwise this is illiterate.Why, DPS graduation rate is 76.9%! Yes, and that relatively high number includes the approximately one third of those who are subsequently admitted to colleges in Colorado lacking the proficiency in mathematics, English, or both supposed to be required of high school graduates. These students are being accomodated in remedial courses and encouraged to use Federal grants and loans to attend. Inability to master high school level mathematics is one of the main reasons that students fail to graduate from college.

The debate about education is completely distorted by the misperceptions and unrealistic beliefs most of those attempting to participate possess. The primary means by which we can improve education have nothing to do with teachers, but with parents. Without expecting to be able to remake society in the image of the past, it should be possible to address some of those aspects of modern life which deprive children of their parents' attention, instruction, and correction, rather than expecting schools to somehow compensate for their absence. If the frantic consumers of today want a better life they must start by overthrowiing the corporate oligarchs who whip them on. The main themes in the present, so-called debate about education are little better than illusory distractions.

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