Editorial: Democrats Take On School Reform

Cleveland, OH - In all of the excitement over nominating the first African-American for president, another equally revolutionary act by the Democratic Party has gone relatively unnoticed. At its convention in Denver, the party approved an education platform that puts them directly at odds with the nation's teachers' unions - long a powerful Democratic party ally.

Included in the positions Democrats will support this November paying teachers more if they raise test scores and more if they agree to teach in underserved areas. The very idea of merit pay has been anathema to teachers' unions who have long seemed more interested in protecting themselves than ensuring a quality education for America's kids.

Senator Obama drew loud boos last July when he raised the topic of performance pay in a speech before the N.E.A - a prominent teachers' union. This change of heart and position by the Democratic party is the work of Democrats for education reform, a centrist group with ties to the Obama campaign. It is a bold move in the direction of long overdue public school reform and it ought to be applauded.