The NSBA Federal Relations Network Conference, which wrapped up yesterday with Hill visits by 1,000 school board members, scored big on several fronts this year. Notables such as Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.), and Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) addressed conference attendees, while Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) received awards for their commitment to public education.
The conference received a great deal of press this year, too. This piece from North Adams Transcript (Mass.) notes Kennedy’s vow to “soften the federal No Child Left Behind Act’s deadlines and discipline while providing a new surge of money and encouragement.” The article also pointed out that
Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, said President Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “hate public schools” and set No Child standards so high that they could not be reached.
“The key (to what Kennedy’s) saying is we want to get there, but we’re going to do it with carrots instead of whips,” Koocher said.
The Washington Times covered Secretary Spellings’ remarks to the group and the comments and questions from conference attendees that followed. A delegate from Detroit told Mrs. Spellings that when it comes to charter and private-school policy, ‘you should leave that decision up to the states.’ He also complained NCLB law is ‘woefully underfunded.’” And the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Alaska) spotlighted Rep. Young’s award. “Young said geographic, economic and cultural factors prevent schools from meeting [NCLB's] mandates. He said his bill would hold schools accountable but address unintended consequences of the law.”
Check out all of BoardBuzz’s conference coverage here and here. Wished you had been there? Watch this clip from C-SPAN.