Opinion Blog

Rick Hess Straight Up

Education policy maven Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute think tank offers straight talk on matters of policy, politics, research, and reform. Read more from this blog.

Education Opinion

Slogans That Didn’t Quite Make the Cut

By Rick Hess — May 04, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

I was tasked with emcee’ing an open mike night a couple nights ago for the annual New Schools Venture Fund summit. Good time. Great people, lots of friends, terrific conversation. Anyway, I took the opportunity to share a few school reform slogans that folks have dreamed up over time, but that didn’t quite make the grade. I always find that kind of glimpse behind the curtain an interesting exercise. If you’re of like mind, read on.

The National Education Association almost rolled out a whole national campaign around the inspiring phrase “You can teach some of the children some of the time”

Democrats for Education Reform came within a hair of embracing “Pass this bloody bill now, or we’re going to go all Charlie Barone on you”

Not so different was the near-motto considered by Stand for Children: “Get your butt in line... or we’ll have the SFER kids key your car”

I was taken by the near-honesty of the Delivery Institute: “We don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, either”

Mayor Michael Bloomerg’s America Achieves nearly went with the straightforward “And you thought GATES was a shadow conspiracy”

Bellwether Associates considered and then passed on the inspirational “We seek, we strive...to blow with the wind”

Just this week, Gates Foundation honcho Tom Kane tipped me off to this near-motto for the Measures of Effective Teaching Project: “Cut us some slack, we’re making this stuff up as we go”

Arne Duncan, our earnest Secretary of Education, was apparently taken with a t-shirt that would commemorate ESEA Waivers with “Victory Tour 2012" on the front...and “Dance, monkeys, dance” on the back

Another ESEA waiver slogan that received enthusiastic consideration at the Department: “Yo, Tony Bennett, who’s your daddy?”

I’m told the Department of Ed is predictably flush with proposals for Common Core slogans, including: “So, South Carolina, how do you like me now?” and “Since 2009, doing for Common Core...What NCLB Did for Accountability”

Finally, it turns out that ED considered replacing those embarrassing Bush-era plastic schoolhouses outside the Department of Education with something fresher: a banner announcing “Welcome to the Gates Foundation, East Coast division”

The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.