Kevin Carey at the Quick and the Ed is the latest blogger to fall under Richard Simmons' spell. After an entertaining and frivolous post about heading to a mall to meet Simmons, Carey follows up with an interview of the TV fitness instructor. The transcript starts out light-hearted, but then Carey starts to take Simmons' ideas about physical education seriously. The next day, he posts about how Simmons' ideas have merit. The messenger in his sequined tank top and tight shorts may be easy to dismiss based on his appearance. That persona is "frivolity with a purpose," Carey writes. Simmons ...


The fight over funding has begun in earnest, and NCLB's fate is caught up in it. The White House yesterday issued a "statement of administration policy" saying the president would veto Congress' bill to finance education and other domestic programs. "It includes an irresponsible and excessive level of spending," the statement says. The bill, which the House has passed and is awaiting a Senate vote, would increase funding for Title I—NCLB's largest program—by $402 million more than the president's budget. It also would provide more money than the president proposed for several smaller programs, such as the Safe...


Even though NCLB is stalled in the House and Senate, its supporters aren't giving up. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., introduced a bill yesterday that would make a deal with up to 12 states. In exchange for increasing the rigor of their standards, they could bypass many of NCLB's prescriptions. The states' standards would have to be aligned with the states' definition of college readiness or international or national benchmarks. But states would get complete control over how to determine whether schools are making AYP and how they will fix the schools that don't reach their achievement goals. "In other words, ...


The current issue of Education Week gives updates on NCLB's future in the short and long term. As a bonus, it offers four commentaries suggesting changes to the law. In my news story, I report that the current effort to reauthorize the law is "mired in backroom negotiations" that are unlikely to yield progress in the legislative process this year (2007 NCLB Prospects Are Fading). The story went to press with a quote from a Senate spokeswoman saying that chamber's education committee expected a NCLB bill to clear that chamber this year. That timetable has changed (see here and here). ...


Eduwonk has a long list of complaints about yesterday's Washington Post NCLB story. Eduwonk's criticisms are valid on policy grounds. But he glosses over that the story has two basic ingredients of excellent journalism. 1.) Peter Baker prods important people to say things publicly that they have said privately. He digs up telling quotes from meetings that happened in January and last week. (My favorite is from Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., on the president's promises for NCLB funding: "I bought a horse from that man once. I'm not going to buy another horse from him.") He reports on a conversation ...


Last week, a spokesman for the House Education and Labor Committee told me NCLB probably wouldn't clear the House in 2007. Now, the prospects in the Senate are fading as well. On Friday, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., issued a statement saying that he and Chairman Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., agreed they should continue working on the bill rather than push one through to meet an "arbitrary deadline," according to this Associated Press story. Also last week, Sen. Kennedy told the Washington Post that NCLB won't reach the Senate floor until 2008. The Post story also covers a lot of ground ...


Madison, Wis., teacher David Wasserman, right, continued to protest NCLB's testing policies yesterday. Instead of proctoring a state test, he sat at his desk while colleagues handed out exams, read directions, and made sure students didn't cheat. "I was able to stick to my morals. I did not have to touch a single test booklet. I didn't have to read a single direction," he told the Associated Press. "I sat there quietly while the students were working really hard on this really unnatural assessment that they are not used to." He said he expects to receive a letter of reprimand ...


I want to add something to last night's post on the NEA's letter to members of Congress. Alert readers noted that I changed my item minutes after posting. I cut a reference to the 'D' NEA gave Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska., for the 109th Congress. In preparing the item, I had read that on NEA's site and written it in my notebook. But I pulled that sentence after the link in the item went to the wrong page. On that page, which was for NEA's 2005 report card, Young was not graded. After checking with NEA, I can confirm what ...


One way to stop narrowing of the curriculum is to expand learning time in schools, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., says. In the next version of NCLB, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee wants to include grants to increase the number of days in the school year or to extend the school day. That would curtail schools' focus on improving reading and mathematics scores at the expense of other subjects, he told an audience yesterday. Kennedy said his bill also would require states to track the amount of time students study music and the arts. "We...


Joe Williams at Democrats for Education Reform has the scoop on the NEA's latest lobbying tactics. The union sent a letter today to members of Congress telling them that it will grade them based, in part, on the bills they co-sponsor. The union included a list of 17 NCLB bills that would earn members of Congress credit on NEA's report card for 2007. (I've confirmed the veracity of the letter with a Capitol Hill source and the NEA.) Even before today's developments, a House Education and Labor Committee spokesman told me that the prospects for NCLB clearing the House in ...


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