Liam Julian

The Heritage Foundation's Dan Lips writes today, on National Review Online (where "Education Week" continues), more about the Republican eschewal of No Child Left Behind.

I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona today (projected high: 99 degrees) for an education reform summit hosted by the State Policy Network, the Alliance for School Choice, and the Friedman Foundation. Savvy readers will surmise that at such an event, "school reform" equals "private school choice," and that no keynoter would be appropriate other than the 60's-radical-turned-school-choice-godfather Howard Fuller. (They'd be right.)

Fuller is not known for dry oratory, and he gave a real stem winder of an address today. He took some shots at Barack Obama, whom he supports for president, for calling for change and yet not being willing to break with the teachers unions over choice. But he saved most of his fire for none other than my good friends Rick Hess and Sol Stern. (He went out of his way to say that he "likes Rick." Sorry, Sol.)

He argued that both think tankers quoted him selectively in recent articles (this one by Sol ; Rick's is listed here but not yet available online). For instance, in the current issue of The American , Rick writes:

Howard Fuller, patron saint of the voucher program, has wryly acknowledged, "I think


"Indiana girl clocked at 118 m.p.h. held on DUI"

She allegedly told cops she was late for school.

Guest Blogger

A post from guest blogger and Fordham writer and researcher??Emmy Partin.??

This morning in Fordham's hometown of Dayton, Senator Barack Obama promoted his education plan during a speech at a local high school.?? Education is a hotter topic in the Buckeye State than most places with Governor Ted Strickland already having wrestled control of higher education and now aiming to take over the K-12 system, too.?? Obama echoed many of the sentiments expressed by Strickland, calling for more after-school programs, longer school days and years, and teaching students to be innovative and creative.?? But this wasn't your father's union-friendly, Democratic education-stump-speech, with Obama taking moderate positions on issues like teacher tenure and charter schools, in stark contrast to the governor's positions.

Obama is calling for more accountability for all charter schools and increased funding for the good ones; Strickland sought to set-back big time the state's charter sector in his inaugural budget proposal in 2007. Senator Obama wants to increase teacher accountability for student achievement, but the details for this are yet to come.?? Teachers would be paid more under Obama's agenda and struggling teachers would get help, but...

Today's much ballyhooed Obama education speech (delivered near my hometown of Dayton) and accompanying "fact sheet" contained more than a few good ideas about where U.S. education should go in the years ahead. But as an exercise in specifying what would actually happen??to U.S. education under an Obama administration, and what is and isn't feasible for the federal government itself to make happen, it recalled Bill Clinton's second term, awash in little, crowd-pleasing programs and program ideas, nearly all of them on the periphery of the public-education behemoth and on the periphery of real federal education policy.

Under four crowd-pleasing headings in the Obama fact sheet??("scaling choice and innovation in the public school system", "investment in innovation and technology", "ensuring effective teachers and school leaders", and "responsibility for parents and Washington"), I counted??a dozen separate programs, commitments and initiatives. None of them addressed the really tough issues surrounding No Child Left Behind (who sets standards, what constitutes adequate progress, what exactly to do about failing schools, etc); or about the big Title I program that is its centerpiece; or about special ed, HeadStart, or anything else that comprises the semi-dysfunctional corpus of existing federal programs and policies. Rather, another...

Liam Julian

Earlier, Barack Obama was talking about schools??in Dayton, Ohio. (He??did so in??Dayton because it's Fordham's hometown, no doubt.) AP and Campaign K-12 cover his speech.

Liam Julian

Checker goes in search of those elusive words, No Child Left Behind, and returns empty-handed.

In today's speech??(see here, too), Barack Obama said:

For decades, [Washington's] been stuck in the same tired debates over education that have crippled our progress and left schools and parents to fend for themselves. It's been Democrat versus Republican, vouchers versus the status quo, more money versus more reform.?? There's partisanship and there's bickering, but there's no understanding that both sides have good ideas that we'll need to implement if we hope to make the changes our children need.?? And we've fallen further and further behind as a result. ?? ??

If we're going to make a real and lasting difference for our future, we have to be willing to move beyond the old arguments of left and right and take meaningful, practical steps to build an education system worthy of our children and our future.??

Those lines might have made sense a decade ago, but is he forgetting No Child Left Behind? There's plenty to criticize about the law, but there's little doubt that it was a bipartisan effort that moved "beyond the old arguments of left and right." Where are the props for George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy?...