Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ISO an article that fills in the bubbles—I mean blanks.

Nearly a decade ago, only a few months into George W. Bush’s first term as president, Nicholas Lemann wrote a really interesting New Yorker piece about how No Child Left Behind evolved and the key players behind it. He focused especially on mastermind Sandy Kress, whom we would learn a lot more about in the Texas Observer years later.

I want to read the in-depth magazine piece about who exactly has been behind Obama and Duncan’s education policy and what their motivations are, and I want to read it soon! I want to read how Obama went from someone whose campaign platform railed against “preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests” to someone whose education reforms measure everything—everything!—in terms of how well students are filling in the bubbles.

No matter where you stand on the substance of the policy, that is an interesting evolution. Wouldn’t you like to read that piece? Or write it?


  1. Yes! Please! And by a non-gullible, non-naive reporter who isn't afraid to ask tough questions, please please please! I promise I'll buy 20 copies of whatever it is and not let anyone read it online for free!

  2. Thanks for the reminder. I especially loved rereading Lemann's account of the small number of insiders and their cocktail party talk and the drafing of the law. Frank McCourt wrote about the same thing but obviously from an educator's perspective.

    The time couldn't be better to reread the New Yorker article you cite along with the following Lemann article. The following quotes were not close to each other in the 2003 article, but triangulate them with your cite, and you have to ask why Democrats are still stepping into Rove's punch.

    "Also, I asked one of Rove’s associates, Maria Cino, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce, for an example of his interest in policy, and she said that the Bush education slogan 'Leave no child behind' 'cuts across every demographic of race and sex.'”

    "In our last interview, I tried out on Rove a scenario I called “the death of the Democratic Party.” The Party has three key funding sources: trial lawyers, Jews, and labor unions. One could systematically disable all three,..., and by trying to shrink the part of the labor force which belongs to the newer, and more Democratic, public-employee unions. And then there are three fundamental services that the Democratic Party is offering to voters: Social Security, Medicare, and public education ..."


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