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With NCLB Debate Sidetracked, Blogging Takes Back Seat

Why hasn't NCLB: Act II been updated lately? I've been wondering the same thing myself.

The short answer is that I've been consumed reporting stories about the election. See my latest story and a NCLB-related entry at Campaign K-12.

The long answer is that the news about NCLB doesn't matter right now. Sure, people are talking about it. The Fordham Institute put on an entertaining debate about the law last week. See the recaps (here and here) from Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier, who argued against the law. The American Enterprise Institute held a seminar on testing that turned into a critique of NCLB. Science published a story last week stating what many people consider to be obvious: Schools won't meet the goal of universal proficiency by 2014.

But the ed policy world is thinking bigger than NCLB right now. Just look at two events on the upcoming calendar. Tomorrow the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is having an event about "the state of education in America." No mention of NCLB there. On Monday, the Center on Education Policy is holding a forum on "rethinking the federal role in elementary and secondary education." NCLB will be a prime topic, I'm sure. But the real purpose is to think beyond NCLB.

That brings me to why I haven't been feeding to this blog. There's nothing to say that will have an immediate impact. The Web at its best is a medium that tells you something that is happening right now. Nothing happening right now on NCLB is urgent. Everything is laying the groundwork for the future. Judging from recent events and the priorities of the presidential candidates, NCLB's future won't be determined for a year or so. We can speculate all we want (see Mike Petrilli's latest idea). But we won't know the parameters of the debate until we know the names of the players who will be participating in it. That includes the president, education secretary, and the lower level political appointees at the Department of Education.

So what to expect from this blog in the short term? Posting will be less frequent than the daily dose I provided from July 2007 to July 2008. The items will focus news that will matter in the immediate future. Posting probably will return to daily once election is over and the next administration is starting to take shape. Until then, you may want to opt for an e-mail subscription (enter your address in the box under the widget in the right column).

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