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NCLB Foe as Ed Sec?


So over at Flypaper, Mike Petrilli is placing his Ed Sec bets on former presidential candidate and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

I seriously doubt it, for one reason: No one in the primary campaigned harder against NCLB than Richardson. He made it clear that he wanted to completely scrap the law and went after then-front runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York for saying she just wanted to "fix" it. Since President-elect Obama is of the mend-it-don't-end-it mind set, I'm guessing his education secretary pick would likely be, too.

Richardson also wanted to set a minimum wage for teachers, which isn't something Obama ever mentioned as a priority. He talked a lot more about improving teacher training through residency programs and mentoring.

It's hard to say if Richardson really believes in the policies he promoted as a presidential candidate, or if he was just a dark horse candidate who thought that an NEA or AFT endorsement could give him some serious momentum.

Interestingly, when I was talking to NEA executive director John Wilson about his personal favorites for education secretary, Richardson's name never came up. He said he'd like to see a former governor in the job, and didn't mention Richardson specifically, at least at first. He did supply a couple of names, including Gov. Mike Easley of North Carolina and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove of Mississippi, among others. In a later email, he mentioned Tom Vilsak, former governor of Iowa, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Ted Strickland of Ohio, and Richardson, along with a former state superintendent, Inez Tenenbaum of South Carolina.


Plus, Washington Post's Cillizza's "The Fix" blog just said Richardson's "serious contender" for Sec'y of Commerce.

North Carolina Governor Easley would be an inspired choice

I don't know that Ted Strickland would accept it--but it would certainly let him off the hook in Ohio. He promised that if he was unable to resolve the school funding problem in Ohio (4 times declared to be unconstitutional due to over-reliance on local property tax), he would consider himself to be a failed governor.

He has promised a plan next year--but economic indicators have put him between a rock and a hard place. He still needs to do something. Now he needs to do it without raising taxes.

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