January 25, 2007

The "Not Ready for Prime Time" NCLB proposal

Diana Schemo's article, Bush Proposes Broadening the No Child Left Behind Act, is a sequel to the many front-page stories about how the president spent half of his State of the Union address Tuesday talking about education and ...

Oh, yeah. 

I'm not sure what to make of the Bush trial balloons. (Better to try balloons than Scooter Libby, maybe?) Probably the most irrelevant was the proposal for a rewritten NCLB to allow the trumping of collective bargaining agreements. It's irrelevant not only because the Democrats control Congress but also because some states have constitutional provisions protecting collective-bargaining rights of public employees.  (No, I don't know which, though Florida is one of them.) And I don't know if the U.S. Department of Education has any lawyers on staff these days, but my best understanding is that the federal government can't use the power of the purse to rewrite state constitutions.

Vouchers are also dead for this session, and if anyone in the White House cared about charter schools, they wouldn't have mentioned the charter-cap issue, since they should know darned well that anything possibly smacking of privatization would be tainted by White House endorsement at this point.

My complete gut-level instinct here, which is probably wrong? The White House staff doesn't care a whit about education, and after writing a few lines in Tuesday's address (and nothing about higher education), they told Margaret Spellings that she could push whatever she wanted to.

And I think she just dropped the odds of NCLB reauthorization this year down to longshot status.

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Posted in Accountability Frankenstein on January 25, 2007 1:18 AM |