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New NCLB Bill "Isn't Wonkery," Says Chairman Miller;
Criticisms Are "Hokum"


The public mud-slinging between Spellings and Miller is really heating up. Makes you wonder what they say about each other behind closed doors. And, substantively, it bodes poorly for a strengthening of the current NCLB law.

Responding to Spellings' criticisms read to him by USA Today's Greg Toppo at a conference call with reporters today, Chairman Miller said that what he's trying to do with NCLB isn't just "wonkery" (as Spellings describes it) but rather much-needed changes to an imperfect law. "I know she wants to add confusion and doesn't like the debate," said Miller of Spellings. He also repeatedly mocked the "99.9 percent pure" claim Spellings once made (fire the writer who came up with that one), and called claims that multiple measures would muck up accountability "hokum."

Obviously, Miller's got to do what he's got to do, and -- this sentence is already so vague -- is going to go ahead and do it. But still it's sad to hear him denounce the current NCLB system which he created and defended for so long, now using much the same language as his detractors had (ie, a single test on a single day determining AYP). Such is politics. Somewhere, Joel Packer is smiling.


Great coverage of the "hokum" hoe-down going on between the EdSec and EdChair. I just find it so very fascinating (and suspect others do as well), that negotiating NCLB I while the president was president for the foreseeable future gave the current Chair lots of brownie points when he was in the minority, but having crossed over to new power and with an election pending is doing his darnest to make clear contrasts between Ds and Rs. Maybe the Rs shouldn't have given up so easily on real choice options in NCLB. Had they held the line, more people would be vested in the accountability system that exists (with some needed modifications) and more schools would be better from real pressure, period. These discussions today may have been a moot point. Hindsight is 20/20. Still a good lesson for any choice-friendly legislators to learn.

The "single test on a single day" is indeed a problem. But the five weeks a year of testing and ten weeks of test practice at many schools sure does cut into actual instructional time.

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