by David Safier
John Munger is playing coy about his gubernatorial aspirations. But there's got to be a reason he's working so hard to dump his old semi-hysterical, Republican-talking-points persona and recreate himself as a visionary.
Munger created an imaginearizona.com website (Full name across the top bar: Imagine Arizona – State of Arizona Public Policy – John Munger). It's a PAC, and Munger is Chairman. And today he has his second recent visionary op ed in the Star (he wrote another one awhile ago), this time about my favorite subject, education. His co-author is Lisa Graham Keegan, past Arizona Ed Supe, big promoter of charters and vouchers and McCain's education advisor in his presidential bid.
So what's Munger/Keegan's visionary educational idea? Here's a hint: the column should have a huge asterisk with a note at the bottom: See Matthew Ladner. It's all Ladner, all the time. You've read every one of the ideas here on BfA in Ladner's own words.
Note to Munger: The other John — Lennon, that is — may have cowritten songs with McCartney, but he never cribbed straight from Paul's playbook.
Check these ideas from Munger's column against the ideas you've seen Ladner express here.
- How much does Arizona spend per student? $9,707. Check.
- Who's got the best education for the least money? Florida. Check.
- Whose interference gets in the way of schools improving performance? Teachers' unions. Check. ("Imagine no more unions. It's easy if you try.")
- What do we need and how do we get it? We need great teachers, and we get them by paying them six figure salaries. Check and check.
- How do we give teachers high salaries without increasing school budgets? Increase class size. Check. ("Imagine crowded classrooms. It isn't hard to do.")
"You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
Munger for Governor — c'mon, it'll be fun."
How easy was that, John? I could have written that op ed for you, it was so familiar. I almost expected you to address me by name and accuse me of clinging to my teddy bear, like Matthew does when I tell him his $9,500 figure is the exclusive province of G.I. and the politicians who love it. (Next on Oprah: G.I. and the politicians who love it. Let's find out if they can break the cycle of dependency.)
Another note to Munger: While Ladner's ideas, laid out in his New Millenium Schools pamphlet, make sense as a small scale experiment at a charter school, it's a ludicrous concept on a statewide scale, and if you're looking at a run for governor, you need to think large scale. But keep pushing the idea, John, and be sure to remind voters you want to crowd more students in classrooms so you can pay the teachers more. Here's an idea. Call them Rock Star Teachers. Kinda like Jack Black in "School of Rock." That's sure to win the voters over.