Duncan: Embracing Innovative Reform?

By Katie Ash — December 30, 2008 1 min read
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It will be interesting to see how Arne Duncan, Obama’s pick for Secretary of Education, changes (or doesn’t change) the way that schools are run in the United States after Obama takes office on Jan. 20. This article on the Washington Post site suggests that, based on his track record in Chicago, he is open to innovative and creative ways to boost grades and motivate students, including rewarding students for good grades with cash.

What sets Duncan apart, education experts said, is his willingness to embrace a range of reforms and his ability to work with people who hold diverging, often conflicting views on how to fix schools.

Duncan has also pushed to give teachers, administrators, and even janitors bonuses when test scores rise--a method that has so far proved effective, says the article. The Chicago school district, which is the third largest in the nation, faces many of the struggles that other large, urban districts in this country are dealing with, and it sounds like Duncan was able to help at least some students find the motivation to fulfill their potential.

What do you think? Will Duncan’s methods of reform help motivate more students than Spellings’?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.