The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was a major force behind the stepped up federal accountability in the No Child Left Behind law, has tapped former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to serve as the new head of its education programs.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Spellings was a key architect of the NCLB law when she served as President George W. Bush’s domestic-policy adviser. As secretary of education, she introduced substantial new flexibility into the law and also racked up some major international frequent-flyer miles.
Spellings, who will be replacing Arthur Rothkopf, has already been serving as a senior adviser to Thomas J. Donohue, the chamber’s president and CEO.
It’s hard to say whether having her as frontwoman will help the chamber’s cause. On the one hand, she’s still well respected by many folks on Capitol Hill and in the policy community, and is seen as an effective deal maker. Plus she’s funny, a great communicator, and as folksy as it gets. On the other hand, the NCLB law is a pretty tarnished brand and Spellings is as closely associated with it as anyone out there— except maybe her former boss.