Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Winning “Something” in Education Reform

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Ben Riley at New Schools Venture Fund has a blog post up about the future of education reform. He’s tracking President Barack Obama’s rhetoric about making the future great. A little rundown of his thoughts after the jump.

Riley tracks some of Obama’s rhetoric on improving education and sees reason for optimism, but also points out there is nothing new under the sun here. He then goes on to show that the climate in Washington might not be conducive to radical change to ESEA, or speedy change, for that matter.

That said, my conversations here in Washington suggest that Republican Members of Congress do not share the President’s sense of urgency, particularly in the House of Representatives. Indeed, Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Education Committee (and thus the person who decides when education legislation will move), has made it clear that “we need to take the time to get this right-we cannot allow an arbitrary timeline to undermine quality reforms that encourage innovation, flexibility, and parental involvement.” Kline’s right, and if (as I strongly suspect) he’s spending a good deal of his time explaining to certain Members of the rhymes-with-Glee Party why the Department of Education shouldn’t be abolished outright, the House is a long way from passing a comprehensive fix to NCLB.

He’s not alone in pointing out he skepticism. Matt Miller at the Washington Post wrote a scathing article about Obama’s big rhetoric and “little mouse” action on ESEA reform, and education reform in general. Take a look.

But back to Riley. He sees hope for education entrepreneurs:

But fret not, education entrepreneurs. Even if we don’t have comprehensive education reform before September, there is tremendous energy around education policy within both parties, which means something will get done this year. As one highly placed (Republican) staffer told me earlier this week, “I’m more hopeful now about doing some serious education policy this year than I have been in a long time.”

You might just call that winning.

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