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UPDATED: Arne Duncan Really Does Listen

By Michele McNeil — June 30, 2009 1 min read

If you think Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his staff don’t read the comments on their ed.gov blog, then think again.

As part of Duncan’s Listening and Learning Tour, which will take him to at least 15 states in town-hall style meetings on education reform, the department has launched an online conversation asking for comments.

A comment about raising academic standards from a high school world history teacher in Princeton, Texas—Kyle Brenner—must have resonated with the education secretary.

Enough so that Mr. Duncan called Brenner today to talk about his post. So if you leave a comment, be prepared to talk about it.

UPDATE: I reached Brenner by email today, and he indicated that he and Duncan spoke for about eight minutes this morning. And here’s how the conversation went, according to Brenner:

He asked me my thoughts on raising standards and I told him that the best way to raise standards was to pay teachers more but require them to get a graduate degree similar to the of a lawyer or doctor. He agreed that teacher pay was a big problem and told me that they were working on some programs to reward excellent teachers and lower the debt burden for teachers. He then I asked me if I believed that teacher pay affected young people from joining the profession. I told him that I believed it did. Finally, we talked about student incentives for raising standards. I believe that we should find a way to reward students who excel by offering reduced or free college that way all students know that if they work hard they can go...he responded that they are still studying the situation and looking for a way to give student incentives.

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