Lobbyists, go ahead and make your vacation plans.
The House Education and Labor Committee won’t be taking up NCLB reauthorization before Congress recesses for August. In the schedule it released this morning, the committee listed no NCLB hearings or markups.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., had targeted July for getting a bill out of his committee, but now he’s postponed that until fall. Since the beginning of summer, the word has been that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was planning on taking his NCLB bill to the Senate’s education committee in the fall.
Now the question is: Can Congress finish a bill this year? When Congress convened in January, Washington insiders predicted that electoral politics would interfere with the NCLB debate starting in early 2008. Now, we’re in July and Democratic senators in the primary field already have made statements about NCLB that may affect how they will vote on a reauthorization bill.
With no committee action scheduled before September, and the presidential campaign starting to heat up, lawmakers and their aides will have an uphill battle to complete NCLB reauthorization.
ADDENDUM: In commenting on my recent posts on testing, Eduwonk says that he believes other issues will be a bigger problems in the reauthorization debate. He identifies a myriad of questions around teacher quality that he says will be “sleeper issues.”
I highlighted testing in my posts here and here because the issue was emerging as Rep. Miller was circulating ideas for his NCLB draft. When Education Secretary Margaret Spellings expressed her opinion on the issue, I thought that newsworthy enough for a follow up.
I also wanted to point out that the politics of testing is one significant issue where NCLB’s critics and supporters have staked out positions and don’t seem to be budging.
UPDATE: A news alert from the House committee says that Rep. Miller plans to give a “major speech” on NCLB July 30. He’ll be at the National Press Club at 10 a.m.
A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.