I've written before (here, here, and here) about the unique political alliances the NCLB creates and contradictory stances the actors in the game sometimes take. Last week's circuit court ruling reminded me of another. In the case, the National Education Association is claiming that the U.S. Department of Education is violating NCLB's unfunded mandate clause, which says districts shouldn't be forced to spend their own money to comply with the law's rules. Although the case isn't over, NEA's top lawyer says last week's decision is a major victory. “Hundreds of school districts and all of the states now know ...


Richard Simmons has upgraded his outreach in his campaign to incorporate physical education into NCLB. He's graduated from obscure blogs for policy wonks (here and here) to cable news talk shows. Simmons also has shifted tactics. In an interview this week with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, he says he's "heard a rumor" Congress won't act on NCLB this year. So he's pressuring the presidential candidates to take up his cause. In the interview, he says that under NCLB, "our children have become a test score." Sounds as if he's been talking to the National Education Association. (He also says ...


I'm a little late to blog about Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings' agenda-setting speech yesterday. (I was too busy writing a story about it and the rest of the events marking NCLB's 6th anniversary.) Eduwonkette says Spellings' idea of 100 percent proficiency is a fantasy. (A belated welcome to edweek.org, Ms. Wonkette, whoever you are. People are talking about you.) Kevin Carey is impressed by the secretary's forceful defense of and knowledge of NCLB, but questions her legal authority to change it. Andy Rotherham sees an "outside chance" of NCLB being reauthorized this year, but warns it might not ...


With New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on the verge of dropping out, the Democratic presidential field is about to lose its all-out NCLB critic. Over at the Campaign K-12 blog, Michele McNeil summarizes the nuanced stands that the leading Democratic candidates have taken on NCLB....


Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings traveled to Florida yesterday to celebrate NCLB's 6th anniversary. While there, she promised to be on the road shilling for the law throughout 2008. "In the upcoming months, I'll be visiting as many states as I can to discuss how we can continue to work together and move ahead with what is, in my opinion, our nation's most important business—ensuring that every student receives a quality education," she said in written testimony prepared for a committee hearing in the state capitol. In her three years as secretary, Spellings has become the chief spokeswoman for ...


On the 6th anniversary of NCLB's enactment, here are six questions to consider over the next year. Will the Senate unify around an NCLB bill? The House took small steps toward reauthorizing NCLB in 2007. It became evident quickly that the early drafts create intraparty splits among Republicans and Democrats, raising questions about whether that chamber could create a bill that would garner a consensus. Yesterday, two key players in the Senate sent important signals on NCLB. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., argued that the law has many flaws; one of them is ...


President Bush stopped in at a Chicago Elementary school to tout the success of NCLB on the day before its 6th anniversary. Usually that would be the biggest education story of the day. Not today. While Bush was flying to Chicago, three judges on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals outdid him. In a decision that could dramatically shift the NCLB landscape, the judges ruled, 2-1, saying the lawsuit shouldn't have been dismissed and suggesting they may rule in the plaintiffs' favor if the case comes back to them. For the short term, the suit is in the hands of ...


One year ago, as Washington was gearing up to reauthorize NCLB, I talked about the law's prospects with a former Senate aide. People on the local level need guidance on how to address some of the law's complicated rules, said Ellen Guiney, who is now the executive director of the Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools. Without it, questions will be settled in court—something no one wants. (See Bush to Start NCLB Push in Congress.) One year later, not much has changed. Neither the House nor the Senate has moved NCLB bills. And local officials are still...


As 2008 begins, the press and the political world are focused on presidential politics. As Sam Dillon of The New York Times reported before Christmas, NCLB has been a punching bag for Democrats on the campaign trail. If you read to the end, though, you'll see that the leading candidates support the law's goals and use of accountability. But state-level politicians want to beat up on NCLB, too. In Minnesota, Republicans plan to introduce a bill this legislative session that would require the state to pull out of NCLB, according to the Star Tribune. They failed to win passage of ...


I've already highlighted Title I's big boost under the fiscal 2008 bill. But two other programs in or related to NCLB also got dramatic increases. The school improvement program under NCLB will receive $491 million in 2008, up from $125 million in 2007. Although on the books since 2002, Congress didn't put any money into the fund until last year. Now states will have some money to turn around their lowest-performing schools. If you want to see which states received shares of the 2007 money, see the Department of Education's announcement that came out earlier this week. States also will ...


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