The last word
As the Bush Administration rounds the bend, officials from the President on down are working overtime to cement their "legacy." Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings told Education Week that she wants to be remembered as a "practical implementer of the law." (The law being the No Child Left Behind act which, according to Spellings, "rightfully put before us the issues of the achievement gap.") But Gene Hickok, the deputy secretary of education under Rod Paige, disagrees with that rosy assessment, explaining that she only became "practical" once she moved from her White House perch to 400 Maryland Avenue. In his own Education Week commentary, Hickok writes that Paige "frequently sought to respond to [state] requests for relief, but was rebuffed at every turn by Spellings' White House domestic-policy staff." Even worse, Hickok argues, by making extra-legal changes to NCLB via regulation, Spellings has created a precedent that the Obama administration can use to defang the law's accountability provisions. Time will tell whether Hickok's scenario comes true, but Spellings surely won't roll over and take the blame. "I plan to continue to be a warrior in this battle," she told Ed Week, and that much you can bank on.
"Spellings' Worldview: There's No Going Back on K-12 Accountability," by Alyson Klein, Education Week, December 10, 2008
"Secretary Spellings' unintended legacy," by Eugene Hickok, Education Week, December 10, 2008