Not long after the 2008 election, Mike Petrilli and I penned an "open letter" to the new powers that be in Washington, suggesting an approach to ESEA/NCLB reauthorization that we termed "reform realism". (See http://www.edexcellence.net/index.cfm/news_an-open-letter-to-president-obama-secretary-duncan-and-the-111th-congress ) Fourteen months later, the White House released an Obama/Duncan "blueprint" for ESEA reauthorization that begin with something of a "reform realist" perspective. (See http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/publicationtoc.html ) It's firm about education goals and standards but more relaxed about Washington's capacity to micromanage the nation's schools and it would cure many of the ills of NCLB, including that law's tendency to declare far too many schools "in need of improvement."
But, of course, the generally-dysfunctional 111th Congress has accomplished absolutely nothing on the ESEA front (and presumably won't during the lame duck session that's about to commence.) Which means that if anything is to happen on this overdue reauthorization front it will fall to members of the very different 112th Congress to do.