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Friday, June 13, 2008

Politics & Education

So what will happen to NCLB?

Probably not much will happen to NCLB, since the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Teddy Kennedy is very ill, not much is planned for 2008. Not much is expected to be done with NCLB, until 2009. But we shouldn't expect much either way as he and other critics caved in last year when Secretary Spellings successfully lobbied her ideas and has done little to alter this law on his watch.

Our two presidential candidates also don't seem to have education high on their agendas. They don't seem that far apart in principal about NCLB. They both support it. There is a mutual agreement to push technology, which is fine, but what about the filters? We have to look at the little nuances of each candidate to get a better picture. But again public school is not part of their lives, so they are not familiar with it or involved with it on a personal level.

Education was not prominent, heck it was barely mentioned, by either candidate during the primaries. When Obama did mention it, I could determine what his policy was from one speech to the next. He has a chameleon educational policy McCain is speechless. What hope do we have that it will get much attention beyond lip service as we get closer to November?

They both support NCLB. They both speak of technology, teacher training, and better assessment tools. So where exactly is the big change? Seems as if both candidates are beginning to drift the middle as expected. We are seeing the beginning of business as usual. Obama is a quick study and he hasn't shown us he makes wise choices about his aides.

A little bit of HOPE just faded away.

Neither man will be known for his policy on education I fear. Who will be his choice for Secretary of Education?

Once again we will see the politics of education help the politicians, the businessmen, and the publishers and not help the children, the teachers, and the schools.

We voted for change in the 2006 election cycle and got no change. We are promised change, once again and so far I don't see or hear much about change. The only change we will see is what we find in our pockets after payday, very little.

When I wanted to see where Bob Barr stood on education, I was amazed that I didn't find it as an issue or on the platform.

Bob Wise suggests in his article, "High Schools at the Tipping Point," in Educational Leadership, that we "should work closely with elected officials to inform legislative deliberations. Education is no different from any other endeavor; ultimately, every important decision affecting it will be made or ratified by an elected body, whether a school board or the U.S. Congress. We must therefore build the public will to demand action from elected officials." This made me laugh. We have seen from the past that elected officials only listen to those who support their ideas and purses. If educators and researchers were involved in NCLB legislation, much of it wouldn't exist. Consider the place of educators during the three Governor's conferences on education. They were not present nor invited.

That hasn't stopped interested parties from positioning themselves in the educational political horse race. Already the jockeying about education has begun in both political camps and will no doubt continue right up to the national elections. The current Secretary of Education Spellings is on the road supporting NCLB, while Democrats are already at it in the usual divided way. Note that the current NYC schools chancellor, Joel Klein is on one side while a former NYC schools chancellor, Rudy Crew, is on the other side. Politics as usual and education is the punching bag. David Brooks asks the question of where Obama stands on the education issues in his editorial today.

Education is in the hands of the politicians, NOT the educators. Follow the Education Week Campaign K-12 Blog during the presidential campaign to stay informed about educational policy from the two candidates.

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