So today I caught up with Linda Darling-Hammond, the Stanford education professor who is heading up President elect-Obama’s education policy transition team, after she gave a speech on teacher professional development at the National Staff Development Council’s conference in Maryland.
Darling-Hammond was apparently not permitted to discuss the transition in any specificity, so she couldn’t tell me who was being considered for Education Secretary, when that appointment would be announced, or whether she would be taking any position in the new administration.
I also asked her about any forthcoming money for K-12 programs. It looks like school facilities are likely to be part of an economic stimulus package that Obama is hoping to pass when he comes into office. But many folks around Washington are hoping for some help for many more education programs, everything Title I money for disadvantaged students to Pell Grants to service learning to pre-K.
Again, Darling-Hammond wasn’t able to get into detail, but she did say there would be more information available next week, and that “Clearly education is at the table.” So...take from that what you will.
During the conference, Darling-Hammond also gave an extensive presentation on how teacher professional development needs to be improved that gave some indication of where she might try to take federal policy if she lands a spot in the White House or at the Department of Education. She talked about the need for greater mentoring for novice teachers, time in the school day for teachers to be able to collaborate with one another, and for schools to offer meaningful assessments based on higher level-thinking skills.
My colleague, Stephen Sawchuk, will have much more detail over at Teacher Beat.