NCLB: Reformers Alienate Spellings At A Price
Politico's story about Margaret Spellings (Talks leave Margaret Spellings behind) paints a pretty negative picture of Spellings' prospects for influencing NCLB reauthorization. Former colleague Russ Whitehurst gets in a dig. (I was surprised not to see a sweetly poisoned comment from former Bushie Mike Petrilli.) And indeed Spellings and the Chamber are having to claw their way back into the reform conversation after a long absence. But what reporter Abby Phillip leaves out is that Spellings isn't alone in pushing for retaining or even strengthening key parts of NCLB (some of the civil rights groups support the same) *and* that the Obama folks and centrist Republicans could end up being victimized by the distance that they've been creating between them and her. In bashing NCLB and distancing itself from some of its key architects -- Spellings, Kress, the Roundtable, the Chamber -- the Obama folks in particular took the easy path and further fragmented the centrist coalition that created NCLB and could help push through a new version of the law. At some point along the way, probably near the end of a long and difficult process, Obama et al will need help from business groups in securing support from moderate Republicans. They'll need every vote to get something done and fight off extremist views on both sides. The blind quote that ends the story hints that the Obama folks know this, too.