Blog: The Educated Reporter

No Child Left Behind: More Carrots, Fewer Sticks

The White House held a conference call Thursday to help reporters prepare for today’s remarks by President Obama as to future of No Child Left Behind.

Under Obama’s plan, states will have the option of seeking waivers from the toughest provisions of the law, provided alternative reforms are embraced. At issue is whether the Education Department is exceeding its authority by essentially rescinding federal mandates and replacing them with new expectations.

You can read the Wall Street Journal’s story here.

The content of the conference call, conducted by senior administration officials, was supposed to be embargoed until 6 a.m. today. But unexpectedly — and somewhat oddly — the embargo was lifted at 5:34 p.m. Thursday via a White House email.

Within moments of that email, there was a Twitter feed(ing) frenzy. It also appears Education Week writer Alyson Klein can claim bragging rights (or at least make a strong argument) to being the first to post a story with a comprehensive breakdown of Obama’s plan. I have to admire that kind of readiness.

Superintendent David Estrop of the Springfield (Ohio) City School District is at the White House today, one of 20 district leaders invited to take part in today’s event.

Megan Gildow-Anthony, the Springfield News-Sun’s education reporter, let me know that Estrop has a flair for the dramatic.

At a recent press conference Estrop – inviting cease-and-desist orders from both Disney and J.K. Rowling – tried to use wands belonging to Tinker Bell and Harry Potter to “magically” comply with NCLB. (He also had some Legos.) The wands didn’t work, either because Estrop didn’t clap hard enough or because he’s a muggle.

Whether Estrop will be asked to do some card tricks to warm up today’s audience remains to be seen.