In the field of politics the multiplier effect differentiates supporters. One class of supporters simply vote for the candidate on election day. Others commit themselves to the election of the candidate: phone calls, knock on doors, spend weekends traveling to crucial cities, generating many votes beyond their own.
Teachers have a high multiplier effect: in the 2008 presidential election teachers, in many communities, were the core of Obama support. Not only did they spend endless hours in the campaign they impacted other voters in the school community.
The Obama-Duncan education policies alienated teachers, pushed them to the sidelines and deprived the Democratic Party of shock troops, the volunteers that are so crucial to winning elections on the ground.
The Republicans will support reducing spending as well as backing off from an intrusive roll in imposing Federal policy on states and localities. Education Week reports,
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the House minority leader who is likely to become the speaker of the House, said in an election-night speech that Republicans will “take a new approach that hasn’t been tried before in Washington—by either party. It starts with cutting spending instead of increasing it. Reducing the size of government instead of expanding it.”
That’s likely to mean a move toward less federal involvement in education policy, which expanded under the Bush administration and the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, analysts said.
With fewer Federal dollars and less of an appetite to micro-manage policy, i.e., the No Child Left Behind school redesign/closing requirement, we may see education moving off the prime spot on the Obama agenda.
For the Democrats, how do you win back the “high multiplier” teachers for 2010? How do you convince teachers that Obama will move his agenda to one that is more comfortable for teachers?
With Rahm’s departure perhaps the new Obama advisors will recognize the crucial impact of teachers and the need to lure them back, a mea culpa would be welcome.