Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Spellings and Hillary at NCLR

Margaret Spellings, the self proclaimed "earth mother Republican" (if that doesn't cause some cognitive dissonance, I don't know what will) has been rather busy lately.

She did an interview in this week's issue of Time magazine and another one for today's Dallas Morning News. Nothing particularly noteworthy except that she takes full credit for moderate gains in test scores for 9 year olds (there was hardly any improvement for 13 year olds and zilch for 17 year olds) even though the data is probably more reflective of education reform that happened long before she came to Washington.

But much more interestingly, Spellings spoke to National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic organization to tout those same results. Right after she spoke, Hillary (like Prince and Bono, she only needs one name now) delivered a speech to the same group saying the government is not doing enough for Hispanic youth. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Spellings, Clinton Disagree on Hispanics
- By ERIN TEXEIRA, AP National Writer
Monday, July 18, 2005

(07-18) 17:58 PDT PHILADELPHIA (AP) --

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Monday the "achievement gap is beginning to close" between Hispanic and white students, while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton countered that she's not convinced the federal government is doing enough to help Hispanic youth get through school.

Spellings and Clinton each spoke at the convention of the National Council of La Raza, a four-day event that ends Tuesday.

The two did not dispute statistics that show Latino students have the nation's highest high school dropout rate and the lowest college enrollment rate, but diverged on whether the government is fixing the problem.

Praising No Child Left Behind, the education law President Bush signed in January 2002, Spellings pointed to National Assessment of Educational Progress scores released Thursday that show 9-year-olds, including Hispanics, have improved their reading and math scores.

"These results did not come out of thin air," Spellings said. "They came from a commitment to doing something that's never been done before, a commitment to giving every child a quality education."

"The achievement gap is beginning to close," she said.

But minutes later, Clinton told the same group: "You are doing your part, but I don't know that your government is doing its part right now."

Clinton stressed that, though younger students' scores have improved, 17-year-olds have made virtually no gains since the tests first started being given 30 years ago.

"I'm not sure that we are doing everything we should to make your job easier, to make sure that the opportunity society is alive and well for everyone," she said.

Whose message do you think was better received?


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