Readers have probably noticed that I'm favorably disposed to Barack Obama, but his modest embrace of merit pay schemes doesn't seem like a very good reason to be excited about his campaign even if you accept the premise (as I guess I do) that he's correct on the merits here. This simply isn't much of a federal issue. Presidential primary campaign talk about teachers is always going to be dominated by efforts to court union support precisely because education policy is such a tiny proportion of what a president actually does.
If Ruth Marcus genuinely wants to promote some kind of education reform initiatives -- rather than dreaming up reasons to carp about Democrats -- she should find some state-level politicians who actually make the bulk of the education policy and give them some backup in efforts to buck entrenched interests.
Photo by Flickr user Allison Harger used under a Creative Commons license