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The Ed. Dept.'s NCLB Strategy

By Michele McNeil — April 23, 2009 1 min read

Curious as to why the changes to Title I made by new Secretary Arne Duncan weren’t more sweeping, and instead only nibbled around the edges at the controversial No Child Left Behind law?

The answer, spelled out at a meeting I attended yesterday in Washington, is simple: Pure political strategy.

Steven Robinson, a special adviser to Duncan on science, technology, engineering, and math issues and a former adviser to then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, essentially told superintendents gathered yesterday at the American Association of School Administrators’ legislative conference that if the department started to make NCLB more workable, then there would be less motivation in Congress to reauthorize it.

And, Robinson said, the administration wants to reauthorize and fix the fundamental issues in NCLB (or whatever name it becomes), and sooner rather than later.

That was a bit much for one superintendent in the audience, who loudly commented that in the meantime, kids and districts are suffering.

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