Let me make a prediction: either the Obama campaign will clarify that the Senator would consider portfolios on top of tests, not instead of them, or the McCain campaign will pounce on this issue and argue that it shows Obama to be weak on reform. Because one thing is for sure: embracing portfolios is a clear signal of an intention to roll back accountability.
Rhetorically, what we're seeing from the center-right education "reformers" virtually across the board is this: mis-characterize the organized opposition to NCLB and Bush-era reforms as being far to the left of what it actually is so you can seem quite reasonable by "compromising" by adopting what is, in fact, the position of the actual opposition proposals (that is, going beyond what people say in the teacher's lounge) vs. NCLB.
They've lost the argument, they know it, and they're just trying to save face while giving in to the inevitable.
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