Federal Opinion

Subversion, War, Kit And Kaboodle -- Hogwash!

By Alexander Russo — January 25, 2007 1 min read
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You have to love EdSec Spellings’ use of the phrase “kit and kaboodle” to describe the Administration’s desire to win approval of their whole NCLB reauthorization package, though so far only NPR seems to have used it in a segment. So fun, so quaint. So Spellings.

But that’s not the only rhetorical flourish up Spellings’ sleeve. She defends the new tough restructuring requirements for persistently failing schools in saying, “I think we all have to answer…what are we going to do about that?’” Meaning: if you don’t like my ideas, come up with something better, but you can’t say the status quo is OK.

Not surprisingly, the NEA’s Reg Weaver goes nuclear about the Bush proposals, declaring “This is war,” according to Stephanie Banchero’s piece in the Chicago Tribune.

In that same piece, however, Banchero or her editors make what seems to me a mis-step in describing the Bush proposal as “subverting” state laws and local collective bargaining agreements, which seems unnecessarily ominous.

There are hundreds of provisions in federal law that require states and districts to do things as a condition of receiving federal funds -- highway speed limits are the most common example. Plus which, you’ve already got Weaver declaring war, so no need to reiterate that some folks don’t like the proposal. I think it’s more fair to say that the law “strong-arms” states and districts into changing their policies.

I can already anticipate Banchero’s response, in which she will undoubtedly paraphrase the Vice President’s recent use of colorful if quaint language: “hogwash.”

UPDATE: Banchero can’t catch a break -- over at District 299, which focuses on Chicago schools, a reader berates her for saying that the Bush provisions would “benefit” CPS, which is operating under a 30-school charter cap.

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