November 8, 2006

The election and K-12 education policy

This morning, I'll look at the consequences of the national election results for K-12 education policy:

  1. As others have noted, ESEA/NCLB reauthorization is on hold until 2009. My guess is that the political compromise will be to extend it through the appropriations process for the next few years.
  2. Waiting on the reauthorization process until the president leaves office will mean that AYP as currently formulated is probably terminal. I expect that George Miller (the incoming chair of the House committee that covers education) has no intentions of letting reauthorization move forward without something accountability-wise, but it won't be the current scheme. No matter what the result, I'm fairly sure that advocates on various sides will find a way to claim victory.
  3. The testing of growth models at the state level will confirm that looking at growth, by itself, is the less-than-holy grail (Harvey Goldstein's quip).  We still have to ask, what do we expect students to learn? You can have growth targets that are high or low or unconnected to any rational process (and you can combine two of those), and you can have status targets that are high or low or unconnected to any rational process. So having a bit of a breather before the reauthorization donnybrook is probably a healthy thing for the debate, in the long term.
  4. Similarly, the consequences in reauthorization are likely to be less lock-step than the current sequence.
  5. National vouchers are dead for now, except for the programs currently in place.
  6. Democratic political strategists will struggle with the Money Framing question: how do you propose spending more money on education without looking profligate? Almost any spending proposals will be vetoed, unless very modest, and Democrats will not only have to choose between passing appropriations bills that will be signed and those that will be vetoed but will also have to figure out how to sell their proposals politically (the 2008 election already looming the day after the 2006 vote). Case in point: will Democratics say anything about pre-k, and how will they frame it?

There are certainly other consequences, but these are the ones that I see as obvious, at least this morning.  More on higher ed and state-level issues in the coming days!

Update (11/10): In comments, Alexander Russo notes that he blogged about the likely NCLB reauthorization delay before Andy Rotherham. True, and I've changed the links above, but, guys, will you stop making like Leibniz and Newton? Or, wait, do the genius-invent-a-new-type-of-math bit but not the contentious rivalry. Listen to this article
Posted in Education policy on November 8, 2006 8:09 AM |