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Time Reports Congress Could Make Quick Work of NCLB in '09


Time is reporting that NCLB is on track for a quick reauthorization in the next Congress. The Democratic Congress has done the background work for NCLB and children's health insurance. If the Dems add to their majority, as expected, they should be able to move both issues through the legislative process, the article says.

The article assumes that congressional Democrats will be united on NCLB issues. But in the past two months, it's become clear that Democratic interest groups disagree on the law's most important details. See the dueling statements from the "Broader, Bolder" and Klein/Sharpton crowds. And look at my item from last week about the split between civil rights groups and the NEA over accountability. Congress' Democratic leadership will have a lot of work to do to satisfy both sides of the debate. (Republicans, by the way, have their own divisions over education policy.)

Charlie Barone sees the potential for the combination of health and education policies to bridge the Democrats' divide. That would take some crafty legislative maneuvering.

One more comment on the Time article: Notice how it only quotes senators. If the reporters talked to House members, they might have heard about how hard it's going to be to unify Democrats on NCLB. (See entries here or here.)

Who out there thinks that Congress will be done revamping NCLB in 2009?


This is encouraging. I'd love to drive a stake in the heart of NCLB-type accountablity now that its brand is so tarnished. Its more important, though, to make a deal. It is also more important to get out of the old NCLB I state of mind and get in the mood for compromises.

I checked out Charlie Barone's links and both of the sites he cited look promising. Keeping in mind the spirit of compromise, the Boston Charter that has been successful with 200 students by using the strategies that most teachers endorse, high standards, addressing attendance, teaching proper behavior. But the extra ingredient is something we advocate but don't always contribute enough of - love.

I have no doubt that progressive supporters of NCLB I also love the kids. Perhaps that helps explain why they've taken such a combative approach. I have no doubt that by 2000 they were frustrated by the slowness in which teachers addressed their concerns, just like I have been frustrated that progressive policy analysts have been so slow in understanding the unintended effects of NCLB.

But if we really love the kids, we need to approach NCLB II with a state of mind.

If we really want to help the kids with need to approach NCLB II with a different and more open state of mind.

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