Massachusetts is poised to pass a broad reform of education policy that would expand the role of charter schools. After a long legislative session that ended in the early hours of the morning, the reform bill passed the House and now only needs to be marked up in conference before going to Deval Patrick's desk to be signed into law.
Why the sudden urgency to increase school choice in a deep blue state? The answer seems to be that the Obama stimulus bill included a number of funds dedicated to financing state school system reforms that stipulated that the measures must be designed and passed by mid-January in order to be eligible. This proviso has nothing to do with education policy; instead it was designed to hasten job creation. By giving state lawmakers an incentive to get the reforms done quickly, the ARRA is supposed to have a greater stimulative effect for jobs earlier on.