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Federal Opinion

Newsflash: Moderate Dems Who Liked ESEA Blueprint...Still Like It

By Rick Hess — March 03, 2011 1 min read
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That would’ve been a perfectly adequate headline for yesterday’s no-news announcement that the moderate Democrats who backed the administration’s “ESEA blueprint” last year... still like it. Our earnest Secretary of Education showed up to celebrate the staunch backing of the same Senators who have been enthusiastic all along.

Whoo-hee, can’t you feel the momentum building? What’s funny is that the administration and its Senate allies are having any success ginning up news in this fashion. The eleven signatories are pretty much the same centrist Senate Dems who backed the administration’s ‘blueprint’ last year--leading many edu-observers to excitedly suggest last spring that reauth would get done in 2010. Guess what? Even with large Democratic majorities on both sides of Capitol Hill, it didn’t.

Now, with the House in Republican hands, the fact that the administration still enjoys the support of the same Senators whose efforts went nowhere in 2010 really shouldn’t qualify as news. It might have been of some note if the event had pulled in any new Republicans or NEA allies. But it didn’t.

In a wry bit of understatement, Ed Week‘s crack national politics writer Alyson Klein observed, “It remains to be seen whether it will appeal to at least some moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats, whose support will be needed to get an ESEA reauthorization bill through the Senate (not to mention the more conservative U.S. House of Representatives).”

Nothing thus far has altered my expectation that reauth won’t get done until 2013 or later, or my expectation that some kind of “NCLB patch” that takes the sting out of “needs improvement” status will be enacted in 2012.

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