RedState: Do you think the administration might be able to make a push forward on a national school choice initiative?Interesting indeed.
Secretary Spellings: Well, I'll tell you what Erick, what we're seeing as No Child Left Behind has matured is kind of a trajectory of accountability. Accountability is really meaningless if there are not real consequences attached to it and we've said to the schools "these are our expectations and we're going to have some measurements and then when you don't meet those requirements or those standards some things are going to have to happen."
In No Child Left Behind now, already parents and families have the opportunity to transfer to better performing public schools or get some extra help through tutoring or summer schools, but there will come a time in year five or six when we have these chronically underperforming schools, of which today we have about 2000 in our country, and that number will go up some next year, where we have to be real with ourselves and say we're not going to trap kids in failing schools which have been so for six years and what ought to happen. The President believes they ought to have some options including private school choice opportunities. So I think that is going to be part of the discussion we will have next year. I think we have the moral high ground in that regard because it isn't like after six years of trying and a real understanding of what the issues are in schools, something else has to start happening.
Accountability has become the watchword in education today. Unfortunately, political pressure, or perhaps even bad management, has led Spelllings to back on on the enforcement of some matters, but the language on school policy has shifted from how much money are we spending, are we spending enough, to what are we getting for the money we spend. This cannot help but move the school reform process forward.