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Bush Announces "Good News," But Doesn't Mention Bad News

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President Bush and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings introduced the 2008 Teacher of the Year at the White House yesterday. (See photo at right.) As usual, the president called on Congress to reauthorize No Child Left Behind. But, he added, "The good news is the act doesn't go away without reauthorization; it still exists."

What he didn't mention was Reading First. Maybe he and his speech writers knew the results of the interim report on the program. You can read about the report's findings in this news story on edweek.org.

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It is also worth mentioning that the Teacher of the Year, Michael Geisen, commented on No Child Left Behind in his remarks at the White House ceremony:

National Teacher of the Year Michael Geisen honored at White House
Thursday, May 01, 2008
The Oregonian

WASHINGTON -- Moments after getting a slap on the back from President Bush, Oregon teacher Michael Geisen tactfully suggested that the president rethink his landmark No Child Left Behind Act.

With a disarming mix of confidence and humor that comes from facing a roomful of seventh graders every weekday, the 2008 national Teacher of the Year used the White House photo opportunity to make a case for classroom creativity over a testing regimen.

"So often in public education, though, we squander this creativity, we squander the entrepreneurial spirit of children because we place such a high value on being right all the time," Geisen said during the event.

"They're not conglomerations of hormones, they're not animals to be trained, they're not just numbers to be measured or future commodities to produce. They are our equals. They're the here and the now."

Geisen is concerned that No Child Left Behind can censor innovative teachers like himself because of its heavy reliance on tests to track achievement, rate schools and punish poor performers.

Bush apparently wasn't offended. The president's staff didn't change Geisen's remarks, which he had to submit in advance. And Bush was in a happy mood, joking with Geisen and hugging him afterward.

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