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Media: Three Edu-Mysteries The Clinton Papers Might Answer

Screen shot 2014-03-17 at 12.25.00 PMLast week a big batch of "formerly withheld" papers from the Clinton administration were published online, and political types are poring through them for answers to various mysteries from nearly 20 years ago (and to help make predictions for 2016).

Here are 3 education-mysteries that might be answered by the new releases (or by previously released materials that haven't been examined yet):

3 --What was the real motivation behind the Class Size Reduction initiative from Clinton's second term, and did Riley, Reed, et al know how thin the research was and what havoc it would cause in places like California?

From a 1999 memo about means-testing Social Security and using the money for education: 

"I just want you to think about where you could be in America if you means-tested Social Security and did some of these more radical things, and pour all this surplus for 20 years and spend it on children," Clinton said. "You could hire a million teachers and increase their salaries by 50 percent and really do something."

2 -- Where did the idea of funding a voluntary national test in the Clinton budget proposal (1997 0r 1998, as I recall) come from, and how confident or concerned were the folks at the DPC about getting something through Congress?  See a 1997 letter from my old boss and others in support of the idea here.

1 -- Who was the most active/influential Clinton staffer on education policy over all-- Bruce Reed (1640 entries), Mike Cohen (259 entries), Dick Riley (485 results), or even Hillary Clinton?  
 
Anything else you'd like to find in those dusty files?  Anyone taken a look yet? Here's a link to the latest pile.
 
Image via Flickr.
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