Reading President Bush’s speech to the Urban League on Friday (which, in fairness, had some good points) it’s hard not to be struck by his inability to explain No Child Left Behind in a crisp way that crystallizes for listeners (a) what the law requires (b) why it’s important to them (c) why many of the gripes from critics don’t make a lot of sense and (d) what’s next. In front of this audience all that seems especially important.
Although it’s now CW that John Kerry should borrow John Edwards’ “Two Americas” theme, it’s probably President Bush who would benefit more from listening to Edwards as he describes the two public school systems that now exist.
Of course, Edwards follows up the indictment with some ideas for educational improvement whereas for Bush it’s almost as if educational time stopped in January 2002, when NCLB was signed. Perhaps that’s his problem, this is a game about looking forward, not back, and at this point he doesn’t seem to have a lot of educational ideas to look forward to. It looks like the Bush – Cheney team was betting that the Democratic ticket would just campaign against accountability and in the process hand them an issue and now, because that hasn’t happened, they’re at a loss.
Inside Baseball Afterthought: Dan Gerstein, Michelle Stockwell, and Elizabeth Fay have all left the Hill, too, so the Bush team can’t just steal their ideas this time around either!