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Commenters Give Edge to NEA's Blog With "All the Answers"

The NEA's NCLB guru, Joel Packer, is the newest voice in the education blogosphere. He's posted three podcasts and their transcripts under a banner ad that brags: "Joel Packer Has All the Answers."

The education bloggers' club has read Packer's first three entries and is offering (mostly predictable) reactions. Sherman Dorn says the blog's name is "a bit disconcerting" because Packer can't possibly have "all the answers." Alexander Russo says giving Packer a blog is "a wise move" for the NEA. Eduwonk crowns Packer as the "Washington's top anti-NCLB propagandist." At the bottom of a post on Barack Obama's education speech last week, Charlie Barone reads Packer's smile in the banner and tells us he's pretending to be happy. Kevin Carey reacts to Packer's latest podcast on education funding and says "Packer's rhetoric fails the seriousness test."

In her post on Packer's blog, Eduwonkette says that "75% of teachers are women, but 75% of ed policy bloggers are men." Looking at the previous paragraph, I'd say she should recalculate.

For my money, Packer's blog hasn't told me anything that I didn't already know about where the NEA stands on NCLB. What is interesting, though, are the comments. They give a quick glimpse into the the political divide over NCLB.

Responding to the May 13 entry, commenter Lisa Linn said: "Unfortunately, you're preaching to the choir!" That's probably the case if NEA members are the only readers.

But that apparently is not the case. Later, an anonymous commenter writes that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy supported the policies of NCLB in 2001 and remains committed to them today. "Your political rants and 'glass half empty' perspective does not help solve anything," the commenter writes. "NCLB has helped schools focus on student achievement which is a good thing."

After the May 21 entry, janet b points out that Sen. John McCain doesn't seem to want NCLB to change. "If McCain is elected, NCLB could undermine schools forever! That's a scary thought." Forever may be an exaggeration, but four years would be a safe bet, based on what what McCain has said on the campaign trail.

NEA may think Joel Packer "has all the answers." But the comments on his blog suggest there are more questions than answers about NCLB's future.

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