Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What A Shock

David Brooks paraphrases Captain Renault in Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked, to find politics going on in deficit cutting.”

In Washington, the Republicans who designed the cuts for this fiscal year seemed to have done no serious policy evaluation. They excused the elderly and directed cuts at anything else they could easily reach. Under their budget, financing for early-childhood programs would fall off a cliff. Tens of thousands of kids, maybe hundreds of thousands, would have their slots eliminated midyear.

Out in the states, the situation is scarcely better. Many governors of both parties are diverting money from schools in thoughtless and self-destructive ways. Hawaii decided to cut the number of days in the school year. Of all the ways to cut education, why on earth would you reduce student time in the classroom?


This period of austerity will be a blessing if it spurs an effectiveness revolution. It will be a disaster if the cutting is done politically or mindlessly. Unfortunately, that’s often how it is being done now.

Try not to sound so surprised, Mr. Brooks; it only reinforces the perception that you’re cynically naive.