Last week’s WSJ editorial criticizing Ed Secretary Margaret Spellings caused a bit of chatter on and off the blogs (Russo modestly claims credit for calling attention to all this flexibility business Update: You thought I was kidding?) But isn’t the more interesting, and underreported, story here the Spellings – Paige rift which is spilling into the open? For instance, Fordham Foundation crown prince Mike Petrilli, a former Bush education official under Paige, is cited in the editorial and has criticized Spellings elsewhere (for instance in low-profile outlets like the NYT) and there are strained relations between the Spellings camp, mostly still in government, and the Paige camp, increasingly housed at the Fordham Foundation and the Chartwell consulting group.
The Paige folks are pissed that their man held the line on No Child Left Behind, at Spellings’ insistence from her perch as White House Domestic Policy Advisor, while she reaps credit for being reasonable as she turns the law into Swiss cheese. Moreover, the Paige faction thinks that watering down the law is bad policy to boot, so they’re doubly pissed off. Here’s a heretical thought, despite several serious blunders, is Paige perhaps destined to be remembered better in hindsight than right now, like the Harry Truman of Ed Secretaries? If so, who is his David McCullough?