"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hitman Gene Hickok Goes After Spellings

The education privatizers' leading hatchet man, Gene Hickok, has emerged after a timeout that followed his $50,000 fine in March to clear himself of criminal charges related to his unreported Bank of America interests while he was Deputy Secretary of Ed under Paige.

Suddenly, Hickok is giving voice to what the "back of his mind" was telling him when he the lead enforcer of NCLB:

. . . .Bush might have expected that Eugene W. Hickok, a relative of the legendary frontier lawman Wild Bill Hickok and the original sheriff of No Child Left Behind, would support his drive for renewal. As the No. 2 Education Department official in Bush's first term, Hickok wrangled states and schools into compliance with the law so forcefully that foes called him "Wild Gene."

But Hickok, who is now urging Congress to revamp the initiative, said in a recent interview that he always harbored serious doubts about the federal government's expanding reach into the classroom.

"I had these second thoughts in the back of my mind the whole time," said Hickok, a former deputy education secretary. "I believe it was a necessary step at the time, but now that it has been in place for a while, it's important to step back and see if there are other ways to solve the problem." . . . .

And what else? It seems that Hickok has been loosed to go after Spellings, herself, who now we find has never been nearly so flexible as she has seemed to us through the mainstream media lens:

. . . .Hickok and his colleagues said they supported the law at the time, despite misgivings, in part because it focused unprecedented attention on public education and achievement gaps between privileged and disadvantaged students.

But former officials said Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, the top White House education adviser in Bush's first term, stymied efforts by top department officials to grant states more control over how they carried out the law. "Margaret wasn't very interested in flexibility," Hickok said.. . . .

You can run, but you can't hide from Wild Bill.

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