I’ve been following the health reform debate pretty closely, and it has brought home to me the distance between what we learn in our high-school government classes about “How a Bill Becomes a Law,” and reality.
As someone who teaches public policy, I’ve taken another lesson from the frequently dishonest, impossibly convoluted and incredibly painful process of reforming something that virtually everyone recognizes needs to be reformed. That lesson is that I spend too much time in the classroom focusing on what separates good policies from bad ones, and far too little time on the impediments to enacting the good policies.
Getting from here to there is tortuous, and far too many people are elected to legislative bodies with the best of motives and absolutely no clue how difficult change really is.
I know what I’m doing over the holiday break. I’m traveling (to (re)visit my syllabus).