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NEA's NCLB Expert Prepares to Leave

Joel Packer, the NEA's spokesman on NCLB, is getting ready to end his tenure at the union after 25 years.

Packer announced to NEA staff earlier this week that he would leave the union at the end of April. In a phone conversation with me today, he said it was time to do something new. He expects to remain active in the education policy world. He said he may start his own advocacy firm, or he may join another organization or lobbying firm. He says he'll decide once he leaves NEA.

As the NEA's director of policy and practice, Packer has been the go-to guy for anyone who wants to know where the union stands on NCLB or any other federal initiative. He was the man with "all the answers," according to his short-lived blog.

Here's an example of the breadth of his knowledge and his persistence in advocating for his employer. At the end our conversation, he pointed out a few things about the "Great Expectations" document released by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings yesterday. Spellings' report criticized stances taken by the NEA in 1918 and 1992. But it heaped praised on the 1892 report from the Committee of Ten without mentioning that NEA convened the group. He even offered a link to the report and pointed out that the NEA is mentioned in the first sentence.

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