Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Politico On NCLB Re-Authorization Possibilities

Ever since the Republican victories in last November's midterms, every time I have seen some article in the corporate press about education, the meme has usually been that the one area where Dems and Repubs can find bipartisan ground to get something done is education.

Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan has done his best to push this meme, babbling to any media lapdog that would listen that education is a great area to get some bipartisanship and reauthorizing NCLB is the best way to proceed.

Obama himself pushed this meme by appearing on stage a few weeks ago with union-busting former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to criticize teachers and teachers unions as impediments to reform.

Good to see Obama with his natural constituency.

In my opinion, the bipartisanship angle on the story was overwrought.

Yes, corporate Repubs like Lamar Alexander and Mike Penzi and corporate Dems like George Miller and Michael Bennet largely agree on how to proceed with NCLB reauthorization (blame teachers, scapegoat schools), but there are enough dissenters on both right and left to throw a monkey wrench into Arne Duncan's wet dreams of NCLB Jr.

Today Politico reports the same thing:

It’s one of the few areas in which Republicans, Democrats and the White House might agree: The decade-old “No Child Left Behind” law needs to be fixed.

But congressional leaders, wary of last year’s legislative battles, almost unanimously dismissed a fall deadline announced Monday by President Barack Obama for passing a major education reform bill.

The path to any deal is littered with land mines: Congress is divided, and Speaker John Boehner, one of the chief co-sponsors of the original “No Child” bill, is dealing with a much tougher Republican caucus filled with tea-party-backed freshmen skeptical of a heavy federal hand in education.

The key House committee of jurisdiction — Education and the Workforce — has 11 of these freshmen, who make up half of its GOP membership. And the bill’s cost — more than $12 billion in fiscal year 2010 alone — is another strike against the law in a year when virtually all domestic spending is on the chopping block.

It all adds up to a fuzzy picture in 2011 for a bill once heralded not only as a landmark 21st-century education law but also a rare bipartisan breakthrough a decade ago, when Boehner, President George W. Bush and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy negotiated the final deal in 2001.

The rest of the article focuses on the major players in the House and Senate on the ed committees, never investigates the kind of pushback a reauthorization push is going to get from backbench Repubs sick of federal control and backbench Dems sick of the union-bashing and teacher-bashing.

But given that Politico had been writing up until now that NCLB COULD get done before the 2012 election season goes into full swing, it's good to see the meme get out there that this reauthorization fight is in BIG trouble.

Frankly, a small fix on AYP might be the only thing that they can get done this year.

And that would be mighty fine with me.


  1. Sometimes obstruction is the best you can hope or.

    The legislation is set to expire. Hopefully a strange bedfellows coalition of anti-statist right-wingers and anti-privatization liberal-centrists can let it die on the vine.