Penn Hill Group’s Danica Petroshius Contributes to Article on No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

Penn Hill Group Principal Danica Petroshius was quoted in a Politico article, “No Child Left Behind: The oral history,” specifically on her experience working on the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):

“Danica Petroshius, former education staffer for Ted Kennedy: ‘They looked around and said, ‘You can’t do an education bill without Ted Kennedy. Why isn’t he here?’ Days later, the newly-elected, soon-to-be-sworn in president (George W. Bush) called.… The president said, ‘I can’t do this without you. Will you help me?’ And the senator said, ‘Yes, of course I will. I want to do this too.’”

Petroshius discussed several roadblocks Congress faced when working to pass this legislation, including the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, anthrax threats and maintaining momentum for the legislation:

“Petroshius: ‘What was more disruptive was anthrax. Hart shut down for a long time. All my notes were there. We didn’t have smartphones at the time.…Someone had to go into Hart with a hazmat suit to pull some files so we could at least keep working…We ended up meeting in people’s basements and homes.…’

Petroshius: ‘We actually had a 36-hour conference call. We had Department of Education lawyers at the staff level housed in a House office building. If we lost the conference call people were afraid we’d lose momentum. It was one of the craziest things we’ve ever been part of.’”

Regarding the legacy of NCLB, Petroshius noted: “‘Even now, nobody can deny it’s the first time we have sunlight and transparency for all kids on what they know and don’t know.… There’s no law that you can possibly write, none, that’s appropriate and successful forever.’”