From Education Week: Recent efforts to read the tea leaves for insights into education policy bring to mind a somewhat unsettling analogy to Sovietologists of the Cold War era. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, expert commentary focused on divining the inclinations of top leaders by poring over speeches and public documents, looking for nuance in inflection, finding clues in who said what to whom and where. Today’s hyperfocus on President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and a few key members of Congress similarly tries to distinguish feints from genuine commitments, hints from tactical spin. And, with education having played a relatively minor role in the 2012 campaign, and with federal budget battles, health care, and other national concerns likely to divert attention from education issues, it’s easy to see why most projections suggest essentially more of the same. But while changes in the White House will be subtle, the fundamental landscape of education politics has been shifting steadily beneath our feet.

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