Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Miller Optimistic About Obama and NCLB’s Future

August 28, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The final day of the Democratic National Convention has been low-key. The calendar of events was long on receptions and short on policy seminars. Everyone’s waiting for Barack Obama’s speech tonight.

This morning, I talked with Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. The chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee seemed excited—almost giddy—about Obama’s candidacy.

Miller endorsed Obama shortly after the Illinois senator lost the New Hampshire primary—a time when many Democrats were waiting to see which way the political winds would blow. “I figured: ‘Hey, I gotta add something to the pot here,” he said, as we waited for the event where he was the guest speaker to begin.

Miller said he met Obama through Sen. Richard Durbin, the other senator from Illinois and one of the tenants of Miller’s Capitol Hill rowhouse. Obama occasionally came over for a dinner of takeout Chinese food and to talk about issues with Miller and his roommates. Miller was impressed by Obama’s knowledge of educational issues, particularly on the No Child Left Behind Act.

“He understands that the basic tenets of No Child Left Behind—high standards, assessments, accountability, highly qualified teachers, funding—are very important,” Miller said.

Obama took a nuanced position on the controversial law, saying its principles and goals are good, but some of it’s policies need to be fixed. Other candidates calculated “they could get a few points in the polls by bashing it,” Miller said. Then, they found that they had to “double back” and offer solutions to the problems facing schools.

Miller acknowledged that NCLB’s reauthorization won’t be a top priority for the next president. While the next administration—whether it’s John McCain’s or Barack Obama’s— addresses urgent issues such as foreign and economic policies, Miller plans to start a dialogue about how to fix the law.

Miller was optimistic about the prospects for the law. Last year, a discussion draft never advanced through the legislative process, largely because teachers’ unions lobbied against the draft’s experiments with performance pay.

“It’s not going to get hung up on performance pay,” Miller predicted.

I didn’t get to ask why he thought that. One of the event’s organizers complained that I was monopolizing the congressman’s time and whisked him away to talk to a reporter from the news organization co-sponsoring the event. (This was the reprimand that Michele tweeted at www.twitter.com/educationweek.)

I did sneak in two other quick questions as he left.

Will NCLB get a new name? “I’ve always said you get 100 votes if you change the name,” Miller said.

Would he like to be secretary of education in an Obama administration? “I love what I’m doing,” he responded.

--David J. Hoff

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP