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Spellings and Jon Stewart Talk NCLB

She didn't exactly kill, but U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings handled herself well on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart last night. Well after the bedtime of most of the nation's students (hopefully), Spellings and Stewart chatted about No Child Left Behind, the "soft bigotry of low expectations," and Lunchables—which Stewart brought out along with No. 2 pencils and an apple just after Spellings sat down at the anchor/interview desk. Stewart told Spellings that she was the "only active member of our government—in terms of the executive branch—who is not allergic to me." "So far, so good," Spellings responded. Stewart and Spellings kept things dignified for the most part, although Spellings made a face when Stewart joked about playing education god and smiting teachers' unions. When Stewart inquired about the face, the secretary replied that, of course, she was joking. As for tweaking NCLB, Spellings acknowledged there are things she would change—specifically, the "growth model" for precisely measuring student achievement over time and paying more attention to high schools. Stewart ended the segment with what he called a "SAT-type quiz" and offered Spellings the following fill-in-the-blank analogy. "Alberto Gonzales is to 'I don't recall' as trees are to sunshine, oxygen, or 'I don't recall'." After a pause, Spellings gamely replied: "I don't recall."

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