We have vested too much authority in national officials who are really smart, but who are really distant. We should be leaving more power with local officials, who may not be as expert, but who have the advantage of being there on the ground.
David Brooks gets paid by the New York Times to spew hooey that makes the power elite feel good about themselves. I read him to get a sense of what powerful people who think they think (and who unconsciously sniff a lot) think.
He's about as bright as Arne Duncan, and just as smug. Both are capable of a lot of damage. Still, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Brooks was talking about the clean-up efforts in the Gulf. He can't quite get himself to admit that maybe locals have more intelligence than the shrimp they once seined, but he does get that local knowledge matters.
I'd take it one step further--if local knowledge makes for more effective action, then the locals are, indeed, experts.
But I'm prejudiced--I don't think national officials are necessarily really smart, no matter what sheeps were skinned.
If you look beneath the shiny sheen of school reform, you will see plumes of money flowing from huge private foundations through a ruptured public trust, money used by national experts to control what happens in your child's classroom.
David Brooks pushed for Arne Duncan's coronation as the education czar. If Mr. Brooks believes public education matters--and I am not convinced he does--he may wake up and see the toxic plume of money distorting the heart of public discourse, the heart of a functioning citizenry.
Forrest Gump shot from here.