I Promise (Mostly) to Cut Back on Using the "It's For the Kids" Line

Look, I’m not perfect. Using the “for the children” argument is something I have resorted to only on a few occasions. I’ve even had fun mocking someone for using the counter-intuitive “blame the children” argument. For a little kid like myself, that’s not a bad record.

But now I’ve got to keep on my toes. The sharp and cynical education policy maven Rick Hess now has his own blog for Education Week, and right out of the gate he’s not pulling punches beating on the “It’s For the Kids” (ITFK) mantra — including letting us all know how silly AFT president Randi Weingarten and former U.S. Department of Education officials sound doing it:

Such variants of the IFTK genus are intended to stifle questions by flaunting moral superiority. Playing the IFTK card ignores the likelihood that no one is eager to leave anybody’s kids behind and the reality that policies entail imperfect choices. By squelching honest dissent, IFTK excuses incoherent policy and practice in the name of moral urgency.

So, here’s a wild idea. Can’t we just presume that everybody cares (or admit that we can’t tell the posers from the real deal) and just argue policies and practices instead?

It’s a good reminder to me, as well. I don’t claim (nor do I aspire) to have nearly the sharp cynical wit that Mr. Hess does. But I promise to try even harder to steer clear of using the “It’s For the Kids” line here at Ed Is Watching — unless it’s in support of begging my parents and other faithful readers to help build my Lego collection.