Obama Education Pick Bridges Unions, Reformers

Posted by: Steve LeVine on December 15

Arne Duncan won out as President-elect Barack Obama’s designate as education secretary by neatly skirting the battle lines among groups seeking to influence future national policy. In addition, it didn’t hurt that Duncan — the head of Chicago’s school system — plays basketball with Obama.

Some teachers unions had objected to Joel Klein, New York City’s school chancellor, who was also mentioned as a candidate for the job. Others took aim at Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford professor whom detractors said was anti-reform.

But a strong hint at Obama’s choice came last week when Duncan visited Washington and met with Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

Duncan is a Harvard graduate who made friends with Obama while playing pickup basketball. Duncan has won praise from some education reform groups for a willingness to make hard choices as to what schools could be fixed, and which had to be closed, while avoiding dramatic public fights over policy, a quality that Obama prizes.

For instance, Duncan won the support of Democrats for Education Reform, which said that he enjoyed “credibility with various factions in the education policy debate and would allow President Obama to avoid publicly choosing sides in that debate in his most high-profile education nomination.”

Reader Comments

econguy

December 16, 2008 01:00 PM

All of this is a nice softball way of saying more spending for all in the union camp and the reform camp. That was the case with the bogus, radical education program from Bill Ayers and Obama in the earlier Chicago experiment.

BRANDI

December 16, 2008 01:17 PM

Go obama
you rock keep up the good work your a very determined person with a caring heart mccain a fake ass mofo and you know it so i know obama you gonna be next president up cause you have a heart

Barbara Finnan

December 16, 2008 01:31 PM

If Margaret Spellings likes this man, then he'll be a disaster. Given her track record, a recommendation from her is extremely worrisome. What future will public education have with this - it's bad enough that Obama's children will go to a private school, but he favors charters despite their questionable results.

L. D. PERKINS

December 16, 2008 01:33 PM

WHO CARES, WE DON'T SUPPORT PUBLIC ED. OUR CHILDREN AND GRAND CHILDREN ARE CHRISTIAN EDUCATED...IF OHTER S WANT TO CHANGE THE FACE OF EDUCATION , DO THE SAME OR HOME-SCHOOL.....

dj

December 16, 2008 03:03 PM

If both the Business Round Table and the Association of Charter schools approve of him, his sole mission will be to bust the union. When working conditions are worsened even further, along with pay, there will be less people willing to teach, not more. By the way, I am really impressed with one of his accomplishments. How does one manage to get lower test scores than Oakland, California?

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