Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Brooks Nominates Duncan for Secretary

By David J. Hoff — December 05, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

From guest blogger David J. Hoff:

David Brooks writes today about the fight between the self-proclaimed “reformers” against their rivals in the teachers’ unions and the rest of education establishment. After fighting over policy priorities during the presidential campaign, the two sides are now trying to influence President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be secretary of education.

Reformers want an aggressive change agent (think Joel I. Klein of New York City or Michelle Rhee of D.C.). The Washington Post editorial board agrees with them.

Unions and others are pushing for someone whose work centers around improving the current system from within (one of their allies—Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond—is leading the policy review for the transition). Brooks also says Obama could pick a governor and make Darling-Hammond the deputy secretary—something he says “might be the biggest setback for reform” because Darling-Hammond would be in charge of policy.

The solution, Brooks suggests, is to pick Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan. His accomplishments match those of Klein and Rhee, but his policies would be acceptable with their detractors.

It all makes sense. I’ve written something like that myself. See here and here.

But I’m beginning to wonder if Duncan will be the choice. He has been the front runner for the job. But it’s a month after the election, and there’s no indication that he’ll get the job. By comparison, Tom Daschle was considered a natural pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. His selection has been widely reported for two weeks and he’s doing high-profile events on behalf of the transition.

If Arne Duncan were the choice to be education secretary, he’d be doing something other than having coffee with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and planning events related to his current job.

Duncan still may be Obama’s pick for education secretary. But I’m prepared to be surprised.

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
The Key to Better Learning: Indoor Air Quality
Learn about the importance of improved indoor air quality in schools, and how to pick the right solutions for educators, students, and staff.
Content provided by Delos
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leading Systemic Redesign: Strategies from the Field
Learn how your school community can work together to redesign the school system, reengineer instruction, & co-author personalized learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Fed's Education Research Board Is Back. Here's Why That Matters
Defunct for years, the National Board for Education Sciences has new members and new priorities.
2 min read
Image of a conference table.
vasabii/iStock/Getty
Federal Opinion NAEP Needs to Be Kept at Arm’s Length From Politics
It’s in all our interests to ensure NAEP releases are buffered from political considerations and walled off from political appointees.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Feds Emphasize Legal Protections for Pregnant or Recently Pregnant Students, Employees
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new resource summary related to pregnancy discrimination in schools.
2 min read
Young girl checking her pregnancy test, sitting on beige couch at home.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal Conservatives Hammer on Hot-Button K-12 Education Issues at Federalist Society Event
The influential legal group discussed critical race theory, gender identity, and Title IX.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix on Oct. 15, 2020.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was among a phalanx of conservatives addressing K-12 issues at a conference of the Federalist Society.
Matt York/AP