Reading this morning’s LA Times article about Governor Ah-nold’s latest recipe for “reforming” education in California, one word kept popping into my brain.

“Blackmail.”

What do you think the key words are in this lead?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called on legislators Thursday to adopt sweeping education reforms that would dramatically reshape California’s public education system and qualify the state for competitive federal school funding.

Um, yeah, that would be those last eight words, which in just about any guise spells the “B” word.

Obviously,  states are under the gun financially. And so when the Obama administration dangles $100 billion out there for education, it knows it can use it to get whatever “reforms” it wants. Don’t have teacher merit pay? No money. Not supporting charter schools? Step away from the window.

It’s not that I necessarily disagree with everything the administration is proposing. It’s the way they’re trying to get it done.

And it’s their hubris.

But in an interview Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised Schwarzenegger’s moves as “courageous” and said they could transform the state into a national model for reform.

Courageous? You’re kidding me, right? Courageous? Try “helpless.”

I expected better.

(Update: If you want to really be inspired about the future of education, listen to Chris‘s presentation to the FCC yesterday instead.)