ECS puts on a great conference. You can tell because during the sessions the hallways are pretty empty, meaning people are inside the sessions rather than chit-chatting in the halls.
A couple of noteworthy things:
*The big rumor making the rounds is the same one kicking around D.C., namely that Margaret Spellings will be the next Secretary of Education if President Bush wins reelection in November. Smart money says the President is on board with this and that political folks in the department are, well, scared.
*Between ECS, the National Governors Association, and his work in Virginia, Mark Warner is the education governor right now. He also got Virginia out of the red, no mean feat.
*This new ECS report on NCLB is full of interesting information. USA Today’s Toppo writes it up here. Secretary of Education Paige likes the report, but key recommendations (PDF) fly in the face of Bush Administration policy.
*A lot of rumbling about a tacky move by an NEA staffer at a morning session. Apparently displeased that the “so called” No Child Left Behind law had been referred to as a civil rights issue at the opening session, this staffer took to the microphone at a mid-morning session, asked all ECS staff and commissioners to stand up, and then proceeded to express her displeasure at NCLB being referred to in this manner at an ECS forum. Maybe this is considered laudable back at NEA headquarters, but in the real world it’s rightly regarded as boorish, and the ECS staff present deserved better.
By the way, in today’s environment, if ensuring that public schools teach minority kids to read and do math at grade level is not a civil rights issue, what the hell is? Incidentally, ECS believes (PDF) it’s a civil rights issue.
*A relatively senior Department of Education staffer who will remain anonymous confirmed late yesterday afternoon that: (a) The bags US DOE gave away last month in Miami were indeed man purses and (b) By a long shot the ECS bags were better.
*RD, your quote was by far the funniest thing I heard at this conference, or probably any conference ever for that matter, but as a family friendly venue Eduwonk cannot repeat it here.