Miller’s Speech Lacks Details, Some Say

July 31, 2007 2 min read

The reactions to Rep. George Miller’s speech on the future of NCLB reauthorization are in.

In the Education Week story, Mark Walsh notes that Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon is disappointed by the pace of negotiations. The congressman’s statement also says that he won’t support a bill that weakens the current law’s “three pillars:" accountability, flexibility, and parental choice.

The story also has an interview with the NEA’s Joel Packer, showing that the union dislikes performance pay for teachers.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings suggests that she’s willing to be patient and wait for a bill that doesn’t “roll back” accountability measures. “While we all hope to see action on reauthorization soon,” her statement says, “a comprehensive bill that has bipartisan support and holds firm to the goal of every child reading and doing math on grade level by 2014 is worth the wait.”

Alexander Russo, who was working hard yesterday while I sat on airplanes, had an instant roundup, filled with links to the text of the speech and quick reactions. He questions what Miller accomplished with the speech.

Of Russo’s links, perhaps the best is to Sherman Dorn, a historian of education and the author of a new book on educational accountability. Dorn points out that Miller waffles on whether the bill will pass his committee in September and how he would provide flexibility to rural districts.

Russo also points to eduwonk’s guest blogger Sara Mead’s post, which says that Miller doesn’t provide “a lot of details” on key points such as multiple measures and teacher performance pay.

And eduflak says that there was nothing “earth shattering” in Miller’s speech, but cautions that Miller’s testing proposals could end up “softening assessment measures.” State’s can’t be trusted, the argument goes, because they have already set the proficiency bar too low. Reading between the lines, eduflak adds that Miller’s statement that graduation rates should be part of the accountability system is a sign that the chairman wants to extend NCLB’s reach into high schools.

In the newspapers, the Washington Post‘s lead says that Miller wants “serious changes” to the law and notes later that McKeon says some of the chairman’s proposals would be a “fatal blow” in the effort to reauthorize it this year.

The New York Times highlights Miller’s call for accountability measures other than test scores in reading and mathematics.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.