Here's a little quiz, from something I saw in the news yesterday but didn't get around to commenting on. See if you can identify the speaker and the subject of the following quote.
"Because those who are fighting against it have targeted [here] and are targeting your children, you have a right to know what's happening. For better or worse, whether you like it or not, [here] has become the epicenter of this discussion, the battleground of a new struggle for freedom."
Education Secretary Rod Paige told business leaders on Monday that recent criticisms of the Houston Independent School District have been unbalanced accounts with an intent to derail national school reforms.
Paige, speaking during a breakfast meeting of the Greater Houston Partnership, said New York Times reports on HISD's test scores and crime rate ignore progress that the district has made since Paige was superintendent of the schools. A story unfavorably comparing Houston's scores on the state-mandated Texas Assessment of Academic Skills to scores on the national Stanford Achievement Test mixed incongruous results, he said.
"Comparing those two scores is like comparing bull riding to sheep herding," Paige said. "Both involve livestock but test different skills. "
President Bush's sweeping school reform package, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, included many of the same type of reforms adopted by Houston and the Texas Education Agency, including testing student progress annually and tying funding to performance.
"Because those who are fighting against it (No Child Left Behind) have targeted Houston and are targeting your children," Paige said, "you have a right to know what's happening. For better or worse, whether you like it or not, Houston has become the epicenter of this discussion, the battleground of a new struggle for freedom."
Lasso trusts he is not stretching things to see the similarity in Paige's rhetoric about test scores in Houston and the Bush administration's rhetoric about the Iraq war. So this is the world we live in: Challenge test scores and drop out rates in Houston and you are an opponent — an "insurgent"? — in the "new struggle for freedom."