May 2008 Archives

ED in '08: From Nonpartisan to Bipartisan?

ED in '08's Roy Romer and Sen. Barack Obama have now entered the hugging phase, which brings me to the following question: How nonpartisan can an organization be when its leader and chief spokesman is so partisan? Before Obama delivered his major education speech at a school outside of Denver on Wednesday, he got an enthusiastic introduction from former Colorado Gov. Romer, and a hug, as pictured in the AP photo above. Romer, who is also the chairman of the nonpartisan ED in '08 campaign, introduced Ilinois Democrat as the "next president of the United States" and praised him with ...


McCain vs. Obama: The Whole Story

From contributing blogger David Hoff: In response to Sen. Barack Obama's education speech yesterday, the McCain campaign is circulating the following sentence I wrote in 2007: In his eight years in the state Senate and two years in the U.S. Senate, Mr. Obama hasn’t made a significant mark on education policy. I'd like to remind the campaign that earlier this year I quoted an Arizona superintendent saying this about McCain: I don’t think he has a strong track record of putting education at the top of his priorities. Read the Obama story and the McCain story and ...


Obama Talks Innovation in High Schools

Sen. Barack Obama was in Colorado today, talking about education at Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts in the town of Thornton. The school is one of 17 small learning environments in the 5,800-student Mapleton School District. Here, all 44 of the school's seniors were accepted to college—which stands in stark contrast to the dismal dropout rates in many high schools across the country. So Obama used this as an opportunity to talk more about his education plan, including teacher-recruitment initiatives, "fixing" the No Child Left Behind Act, and a $4,000 tax credit to help students pay ...


Possible Veeps at McCain BBQ

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: So I'm sure you've heard by now that Sen. John McCain held a BBQ this weekend that was largely viewed as a veep audition. At least three of the folks in attendance could help McCain on education issues: - Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, who served as that state's commissioner of education under Gov. Jeb Bush. He helped to implement the state's ambitious education agenda, which some conservatives see as a national model. As governor since 2007, Crist has supported performance pay for teachers. - Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisina, who served on the House ...


Life Imitating Art ... Kinda

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: So apparently it's not just my editor and fan of NBC's "The West Wing" Mark Walsh who noticed that the 2008 presidential election bares an uncanny resemblance to the final two seasons of the multi-award winning drama. The Washington Post had a piece on the similarities this week. Apparently, it's not a total coincidence, as the TV show's writers had Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois specifically in mind when they created Rep. Matt Santos of Texas, played by Jimmy Smits. But one major (and lamentable) difference: In the fictional campaign, education was actually a major ...


Is the NEA Ready to Endorse Obama?

Maybe. Read union watchdog Mike Antonucci's post here, in which he reveals that the National Education Association's PAC Council approved a "conditional" endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama. You can't really get more conditional than the NEA's conditions. They're endorsing Obama only if he captures the required number of delegates to win, or if Sen. Hillary Clinton drops out of the race. They don't even appear to be endorsing for the general election, just for the Democratic primary! In other words, they'll endorse Obama only when he's the last Democrat standing. Wow. That's really going out on a limb....


McCain Talks NCLB in Essence Magazine

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Now that he's beefed up his education team, Sen. John McCain is actually ... talking about the No Child Left Behind Act. In an interview with Essence magazine, McCain says that the law, while flawed, was a step in the right direction in terms of closing the achievement gap. The whole article is illuminating, especially in terms of McCain's strategy with African American voters. But here's a salient exchange: McCain: We also have to act at the federal level, update the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act was a good beginning, ...


Obama's New Math-Science Education Bill

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, planned to introduce a bill today...on education! The measure, which is sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., is aimed at better coordinating the myriad of programs geared toward improving math and science education. For instance, it would establish an Office of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education within the U.S. Department of Education. The political message behind the legislation could be a three-for-the-price-of-one for Obama. It could paint him as an advocate of good government, a proponent ...


McCain's New Rules for Lobbyists and His Education Team

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee, has new rules for lobbyists who work with the campaign. McCain's campaign won't employ registered lobbyists, and volunteer advisers can't work on the subjects on which they lobby. I'm wondering how that will affect his education policy team, which includes some registered lobbyists. For instance, David Crane, who, according to the Fordham Foundation's Mike Petrilli, heads up McCain's education policy team. He's a registered lobbyist and the president of Quadripoint Strategies. His clients have included the U.S.Chamber of Commerce, according to the liberal-leaning media ...


Kentucky Primary: A Missed Opportunity?

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Kentucky and Oregon hold their Democratic primaries today. And I have to say, I'm sorry we didn't get to the Blue Grass State earlier in the election cycle, when it might have actually mattered more. The state has a storied history of education redesign, dating back nearly two decades with the Kentucky Education Reform Act. And there's a great debate going on there right now about whether to revamp the state's assessments or leave in place the current system, which includes student portfolios. It's the kind of in-the-weeds, local issue that typically doesn't get addressed ...


Senate Appropriations Chairman for Obama

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia endorsed Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois today. Byrd oversees the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, so he'll be working closely with the next president (whoever that may be) on education spending. At this point in the race, the endorsement is mostly meaningful in that it puts another superdelegate into Obama's column. Still, looking much further down the road, the endorsement could be a positive sign for relations between the appropriations committee and the White House under an Obama administration. That could only help the bottom-line for ...


McCain and College Access for Veterans

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona is (finally) working on an education issue. Well, kind of. Some U.S. senators, led by Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, and Sen. John Warner, a Republican, both of Virginia, are trying to craft a "new GI Bill" that would offer a generous new college access benefit to many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would pay for four years (!) of tuition at a public university, plus a living stipend and money for books and other supplies, Webb's spokeswoman, Jessica Smith, told me ...


Edwards for Obama: What It Might Mean for Education

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: So the big news is that former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the one-time Democratic presidential candidate, is expected to endorse Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for president tonight. In terms of the nomination, this might mean that Edwards' 60-some delegates will go to Obama - a seemingly small number, compared to the 2,026 needed to win the nomination, but every little bit counts in this close Democratic contest. It might mean that some of the anti-poverty programs that Edwards supported will become part of Obama's platform. That included a number of education ...


Campaign K-12 Needs a Break, Will Be Reading Harry Potter

Actually, Campaign K-12 will continue on, but I need a break. Blogging is hard work! In all seriousness, I'll be out of the office until after Memorial Day, leaving this blog in the capable hands of frequent contributor Alyson Klein, who covers the federal beat here. My colleagues Mark Walsh, who covers the school legal beat, and David Hoff, NCLB reporter extraordinaire, may also make guest appearances. As for Harry Potter, I'm perhaps one of only a handful on Earth who hasn't read this series. But apparently I should, because the villain of the seven volumes is the inspiration behind ...


McCain is Almost, Almost, Almost Ready to Talk about Education

Former Arizona State Schools Superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan offers a very revealing quote in the Arizona Republic, which writes about how she's jumping on board John McCain's presidential campaign full-time. "Having Senator McCain be in a position to get ready to start talking about education a little bit more fully in his campaign, it's just a great opportunity to be a part of," Keegan said. In a position? To get ready? To start talking about education? A little bit? More fully? The election is only six months away! Mike Petrilli at Fordham's Flypaper seems to see this as a good ...


ED in '08's Roy Romer Endorses Obama

ED in '08 Chairman and superdelegate Roy Romer today announced he is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for president. (Hat tip to Flypaper on this one.) Romer, a former Colorado governor and Democratic National Chairman, leads the nonpartisan ED in '08 group that's trying to make education a prominent issue in the election. To be sure, Romer isn't saying ED in '08 is endorsing Obama. In this ABC News story, he says: "My partner here, Marc Lampkin is a Bush Republican, a McCain Republican, so we are still one Democrat and one Republican who will be working even handedly." (Lampkin...


Roll Call: ED in '08 Blogger Summit

Who else, besides me, is going to the ED in '08 blogger summit? While the substance of the summit is on Thursday, the gathering kicks off tomorrow night with cocktails, appetizers, and a screening of the documentary Two Million Minutes. I'm not quite sure what to expect from this summit, but I'm sure it will be interesting. On tap is Newt Gingrich, and bloggers Joanne Jacobs, Dan Brown, and Alexander Russo, among others. Yours truly will be on a panel called "Blogging the Election: Breaking Through the Noise."...


McCain's Education Bench

Here at EdWeek and Campaign K-12, we've been trying to get a list of John McCain's education advisers, but with little success. Thankfully, (insert sarcasm here), someone has leaked the list to the good folks at Fordham. A few of the advisers are crossovers from Mitt Romney's camp, including former education department officials William D. Hansen and Eugene W. Hickok. And we've known that former Arizona state superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan was on the list. Also filling McCain's education bench is Williamson Evers, who has amassed a list of enemies who may have helped briefly stall his Senate confirmation last ...


Education Spending and the Candidates

From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: One of my beats here at Education Week is the federal budget. And this year, Congress has been unusually sluggish (even for Congress) at getting going on education spending bills. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings hasn't even testified in the Senate yet on President Bush's education budget proposal - an event that usually happens in early spring. Congress is dragging its feet on appropriations legislation, particularly the controversial bill that finances education, in part because they don't want to go through another veto-dance with President Bush. Democrats are betting if the next president is from ...


More on Conservatives Abandoning Vouchers

Take a minute to read Greg Anrig's comment that further explains his reasoning that conservatives have abandoned the voucher movement. He responded to a blog item I did questioning his recent article in the Washington Monthly. Anrig makes a good argument. But I still think that while conservatives may have abandoned economist Milton Friedman's idea for vouchers from a strict interpretation standpoint, they've merely shifted their political strategies and are trying to accomplish the same thing without calling it "vouchers." Checker Finn weighs in with a similar argument here, saying that Anrig has been "overhasty" and that "choice is winning." ...


Conservatives are Abandoning Vouchers? Seriously?

The Century Foundation's Greg Anrig penned a piece in Washington Monthly recently titled: "An Idea Whose Time Has Gone". And the subheadline reads: "Conservatives abandon their support for school vouchers." If you can't figure it out from the headline, the gist is that the voucher movement is dead or dying, and conservatives have given up hope. While vouchers aren't explicitly campaign related, the issue is volatile and polarizing enough that it often crops up in state and local races—and even Barack Obama has mentioned the "V" word before. And while I don't want to argue the merits of vouchers ...


High School Volunteers in the Hoosier State

A few weeks ago, I profiled the efforts of Brian Griffin, a campaign intern for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, and other high-schoolers who lent a hand to one of the two Democrats vying in yesterday’s closely watched Indiana presidential primary. Griffin saw the victory by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York in a broad context. “It was upsetting that we worked so hard here and we didn’t actually see the percentages being higher,” he said, referring to the roughly 2-point margin over Obama. But he added, “You can’t get too upset when you see that ...


A Victory for Obama: Now What?

Now that Obama seems poised to wrap up the Democratic nomination with a victory in North Carolina and a narrow miss in Indiana, the pundits are starting to examine where Obama goes now. And if he wants to win, that means Obama needs to start pivoting to the center, some say. Fordham's Mike Petrilli writes on Flypaper about what that could mean for his education policy stances. As a personal aside, I have to say that I was surprised that Obama did as well as he did in Indiana. I was expecting Hillary Clinton to more soundly beat him, and ...


McCain's Judicial Philosophy and the Pledge of Allegiance in Schools

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, gave a speech today at Wake Forest University designed to outline his judicial views in which he cited a famous legal challenge to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. The campaign put out this press release, as well as the text of his remarks. He says that if given the opportunity, he will appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices in the mold of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. McCain cited cases in which he thinks courts have run amok by ...


Indiana's Longtime Elected Schools Chief Retires

Today, voters from my home state go to the polls to decide whether they want Democrats Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to head the 2008 presidential ticket. But as the two were canvassing the state, scouring for votes, something election-related happened over the weekend that could have an even bigger impact on education in the Hoosier State: Veteran Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed, who has been the state's education leader for 16 years, announced she won't run for re-election. During my years covering education in Indiana, I got to know Reed—even visiting her farm in rural Indiana, where ...


Green Schools? Ask the Next President

Reporting on the presidential race, I've focused a lot on the major issues - No Child Left Behind, merit pay, school choice - but the next president will have a significant say in some other issues, such as whether the federal government should help school districts invest in environmentally friendly, or "green," schools. This past Wednesday, the House Education and Labor Committee passed a bill - on a more or less party-line vote - that would authorize about $6.4 billion a year to help districts construct "green schools." Republicans argued that financing school construction is a local responsibility and ...


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