Bush Puts NCLB in Spotlight Again
Thanks to Alyson Klein for blogging about yesterday's NCLB meeting at the White House. Some of you know that I have a weekly appointment with a bunch of 5th grade boys on a soccer field on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. That made it hard to blog yesterday afternoon.
I wanted to follow up with a couple thoughts.
1.) The presidential bully pulpit works. A former aide to Secretary of Education Richard Riley once told me that Riley could hammer away on an issue for weeks and make little progress. But if President Clinton highlighted the issue in one speech, members of Congress and the public started to pay attention. This is President Bush's third statement on NCLB since NAEP scores came out two weeks ago. (For all three, see here, here, and here.) He may be able to focus the discussion back on the reauthorization debate.
2.) The president proposes, but Congress disposes. This summary of constitutional powers explains the limits of President Bush's power in this process. Congress will decide about the nitty-gritty details in NCLB reauthorization. The president will have a place at the table in those deliberations. But when the bill reaches his desk, he'll have two choices: Sign it or veto it.
3.) Show me the money. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's statement is a reminder that the next big NCLB fight will be over money. As this brief from the New America Foundation points out, Congress and the president are headed toward a budget showdown. NCLB will be one of the programs they fight over.