Phi Beta Cons

The Spellings Report: Coda

Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Robert Zemsky, who sat on the secretary of education’s higher education commission, renders the following judgment on it:

In the end, Miller [i.e., Charles Miller, the reformist commission head] more than budged, although once his first inflammatory draft was in circulation, what mattered most was the tone of the report rather than its actual recommendations. Each succeeding draft became more sanitized, more tolerant of ambiguity, more ready to admit a diversity of opinion. Yet that struggle over tone and message had sapped the energy of the commission, resulting in a less than bold set of final recommendations. (“The Rise and Fall of the Spellings Commission,” January 26, 2007)

What began with a promising bang appears to have gone out with a dispiriting whimper.