August 18, 2009 11:48AM

National Standards Defector

Liam Julian used to work for the Evil Empire: the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, leader of the freedom‐​crushing, national‐​curricular‐​standards movement. (Actually, Fordham’s not really evil, supporting much school choice, but I’m determined to use this metaphor.) But in grand, Soviet‐​dissident style, Julian has turned against his former masters. The co‐​editor of Fordham’s 2006 report To Dream the Impossible Dream: Four Approaches to National Standards and Tests for America’s Schools, Julian has since become the managing editor at Policy Review, and in a recent Weekly Standard article made clear that he’s seen the light on national standards. Sounding a lot like, well, me, Julian wrote:

America’s current system of state‐​based educational standards isn’t great–far from it. But the very factors that contribute to the shoddiness of so many state standards are compounded at the national level, where every interest group from the textbook manufacturers to the national teachers’ unions to the Springfield Elementary School Herodotus Society will want to have its say.

Needless to say, this turn of events hasn’t made the Fordham folks very happy. But sooner or later, just like communism, an idea clearly divorced from reality simply cannot be sustained.

And so I say: Welcome to the (educationally) free world, Liam Julian! We’re glad to have you with us!