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Denver Superintendent Enters Education Secretary Sweepstakes

By David J. Hoff — December 10, 2008 1 min read
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Michael Bennet is the latest to have his name surface as a potential secretary of education. Jonathan Alter mentioned the Denver superintendent in his Newsweek column about Bill Gates using his philanthropic efforts to influence national and federal K-12 policy.

Bennet is one of three urban superintendents who “would suit Gates and other reform-minded philanthropists just fine,” Alter writes. Chicago’s Arne Duncan and New Orleans’ Paul Vallas are the others, but New York City’s Joel Klein is an unlikely pick because of his strained relationship with AFT President Randi Weingarten, Alter says.

“I have my money on Bennet, whose new compensation system is popular with Denver teachers, if not the union,” Alter writes parenthetically.

The Denver media jumped on Alter’s article as an indication that Bennet might get the job. (See here and here.) If you read closely, though, Alter doesn’t provide a source within the transition team saying that Bennet is under consideration, or that Klein is not. Maybe Alter has good sources in the Obama camp and has decided to be coy. Or maybe he doesn’t.

We’ll see if Bennet’s name rises in Mike Petrilli’s daily poll of Washington insiders. But the Washington insiders aren’t making the pick. A small group in Chicago is. And so, far its members are playing this one close to the vest.

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