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Education Secretary May Not Be Most Important K-12 Job

November 07, 2008 1 min read

From guest blogger David J. Hoff:

Everyone is guessing who the next secretary of education will be. But eduflack has a useful reminder in an open letter to President-elect Obama: Other positions may not be as high-profile, but they could be just as important.

The assistant secretaries you appoint will be the linchpins of your education policy success. Don't make these patronage jobs. Don't use these to reward friends or organizational friends of the campaign. Get out into the field and find the best people for the jobs.

He says the most important jobs are the assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education and heads of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Office of English Language Acquisition, and the Institute of Education Sciences. Others I’ve talked to suggest the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development could be an important player in an Obama administration.

I talked to eduflack (look for quotes in an Ed Week story to come) and he made the following point: The most influential person on education policy in President Bush’s first term worked at the White House and didn’t become education secretary until the start of the second term.

Once President-elect Obama names his pick for education secretary, don’t stop paying attention. You may be missing the story.

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