I am enjoying David Hoff’s new Ed Week blog a lot. But I think he’s off about testing being the most contentious issue in No Child Left Behind reauthorization. It’s important, and there are real problems, but that issue is mostly Kabuki in terms of reauthorization and I don’t ultimately see big changes beyond some improvements to the accountability system because of where states are today on data, some additional help for assessing special populations and perhaps some pilots to develop new ideas. My bet is the sleeper issues that will cause some real headaches for Hill staff will be around teacher quality issues, especially comparability, collective bargaining, and measuring teacher effectiveness and supporting states that want to genuinely change their approaches to teacher issues.
Also, on NCLB, there has been a lot of heat about “flexibility” and some conservatives want to basically give states flexibility to do whatever they please. Turns out, the existing flexibility provisions — with one exception , a program for rural schools — really aren’t used much now…Could be that “flexibility” has become code for no accountability and fewer requirements around disaggregation rather than programmatic flexibility?