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NCLB Reauthorization: Where Was Duncan?

Er-h-TNR-color-DumbestDC3The passage of Harkin-Enzi #ESEA out of committee last night was a victory for the committee (protecting its turf against the waiver option), conservatives and teachers unions and bureaucrats (a rollback of federal oversight over school performance), and innovation-oriented moderate Republican reformers (getting Washington out of the way). Perhaps reform opponents will also consider it a victory (fewer sanctions from the meanies in Washington, the end of NCLB), too.  But is Harkin-Enzi better than current law, or even the waiver option that's waiting in the wings?  I'm not so sure.  Civil rights and disability groups certainly seemed not to think so.  And so did Arne Duncan, though there was no full court press that I saw.  Duncan expressed his disappointment in the legislation on Monday but then went off to push the $35B teachers/first responders package (which failed last night).  Was there a desperate but ultimately ineffective behind the scenes effort to improve Harkin-Enzi from the Duncan folks and the White House, or do they want any bill they can get (see Mike Petrilli here), or are they just hoping that this all falls apart on the Senate floor and in the House so that they can do the waiver thing?  Others may know better but from afar the Duncan effort to restore accountability to the reauthorization vehicle seemed lackluster and ineffective.  

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Duncan was home reading the Nov/Dec issue of Mother Jones, and wondering whether the jig was up.

Your supposed concern for the "lowest performing" students, like those at Locke, seems to have evaporated. You make it seem that civil rights groups disapprove the bill because it "weakens accountability", but it delivers "low performing" students and their "low performing" schools to the "accountability" of SIG, to be taken over and fed on by your for-profit turn-around cronies.

You've never even reported their actual objection to the "weakening" of the bill: it removes all definitions of minimal credentials for teachers, and removes all requirements that parents be notified when their children are relegated to untrained interns and uncertified aides. TFA, of course, championed those changes, and succeeded in defeating Bernie Sanders's amendment Thursday.

Here is the coalition's letter to Harkin and Enzi:
http://www.publicadvocates.org/sites/default/files/library/coalition_for_teaching_quality_esea_letter_0.pdf

Here's a blog about it, which missed your roundup:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-affeldt/dont-let-congress-turn-ba_b_1018186.html

Alexander, one way or the other, this is going into the history books. You don't look so good this past week, either as a "Capitol Hill Insider" or an "Education Reporter".

more about the duncan team's mild response to harkin enzi last week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2011/10/obama_administration_unhappy_w.html?

mary please keep your comments focused on the issues not on anyone's personal motives or character. we can disagree respectfully.

as for the substance of my post and your response my focus is on the accountability portion of the bill not the teacher quality portion.

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