Peggy Noonan on Rudy: "The Sound of the Future"
Peggy Noonan closes her Thursday column by reflecting on the Mayor's Manhattan Institute speech, and how refresingly un-political it sounded:
Let me close with something that I thought had the sound of the future in it. I was at a Manhattan Institute lunch this week at which Rudy Giuliani spoke. He impressed the audience of 200 or so, which was not surprising as it was his kind of group, urban-oriented thinkers drawn not to ideology but to what works and will help in the world. (I am a longtime supporter.) At one point he was asked about national education policy. Mr. Giuliani said he wanted more national emphasis on choice. He spoke of it as a civil rights issue, and told stories to illustrate the point.
Then--this is the part with the sound of the future in it--he laid out the reasons both parties have failed to push the ball forward. The Democrats fear the teachers unions and the educational establishment. The Republicans are heavily represented in and by suburban and country areas, which tend to have good schools, tend to be happy with them, and are wary of a movement they fear might take something from them. And so the students who need the most help, city kids who would benefit the most from creativity, are held captive to a failed public-education monopoly.
His candor was refreshing. Mr. Giuliani's approach was nonpartisan in the best sense--i.e., not fuzzy but frank. It wasn't Public schools want to be free; it was This is what will help, this is why it isn't happening, this is why we have to make it happen. That didn't sound like the same old same old. It didn't sound like the past.