No longer is education reform an issue of liberals vs. conservatives. In Washington, the Obama administration's Race to the Top program rewarded states for making significant policy changes such as supporting charter schools. In Los Angeles, the Times published the effectiveness rankings—and names—of 6,000 teachers. And nationwide, the documentary "Waiting for 'Superman,'" which strongly criticizes the public education system, continues to succeed at the box office.
All sides of the educational policy debate now accept that the key determinant of school effectiveness is teachers—that effective teachers get good achievement results for all children, while ineffective teachers hurt all students, regardless of background. Also increasingly accepted is that the interests of teachers unions aren't the same as the interests of children, or even of most teachers.