Couple of interesting things went down recently setting up some interesting conflicts and worth keeping an eye on.
In New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been lauding Common Core standards. That’s an anti-Perry position to be sure and not the kind of thing you’re going to hear right now in the Republican primary debate. Regardless of whether he decides to run for president or not, worth keeping an eye on – the state v. federal split in the Republican ranks is a real issue.
In D.C. the Council of Great City Schools – representing the nation’s largest school districts – endorsed (pdf) the Alexander-Isaskon-Burr-Kirk No Child Left Behind overhaul bill when it was introduced. A lot of Hill Dem staffers are pissed-off about that move. CGCS clearly likes the flexibility in the bill and made some deals but it’s a noteworthy shift because they’ve traditionally been resistant to moves that would shift the accountability burden off of suburban schools while maintaining it for urbans – and that would be the practical effect of the Alexander bill. If Republicans do take control of the Senate in next year’s elections – but that’s not a done deal as Kyle Kyrgstad reports in Roll Call – the move makes political sense.
Also in D.C. the United Farm Workers has come out against Secretary Duncan using waiver authority to undo the free tutoring requirements under No Child Left Behind (pdf). They argue that doing so violates the restrictions in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on the secretary’s authority to waive provisions of the law dealing with parental participation and involvement. Meanwhile Senator McCain (R-AZ) is introducing legislation aimed at protecting the tutoring requirements. That could set up a conflict with Alexander et al as legislation moves forward because the Alexander approach gets rid of the free-tutoring rules along with a variety of other mandates.