How Conservatives can reshape education | | – Standard Speaker

After spending a few columns exploring current debates about history and race and education, I intended to step back and write about why the conservative effort to use state legislation to block new progressive educational theories is likely to ultimately fail.

But sometimes somebody writes a better version of your intended column first, and a few days ago Samuel Goldman, a professor at George Washington University and a writer for, did exactly that. Invoking the long history of failed conservative attempts to fight liberal cultural shifts with legislative backlash, Goldman noted that in the case of education, “statute books are where conservative curriculum reforms go to die.” The problem isn’t just that the new statutes are too broad or too ambiguous. “It’s that they target ideas rather than the structure and personnel of educational institutions.”

By this Goldman means that it’s not legislators, but bureaucrats, administrators and ultimately teachers who