Thursday, October 16, 2008

Arne Duncan for Secretary of Ed?

Speaking of education, below is an article about who might be the next Secretary of Education.  Schnur, Duncan, Klein and Booker would all be AMAZING, Darling-Hammond would be a nightmare (for reasons I articulated here:, and I don't know enough about any of the others to comment.  My bet is that if Obama wins, he'll pick Arne Duncan (they've played a lot of pick-up hoops together -- what more do you need to know?), who I don't know personally, but I've heard great things about him:

Arne Duncan, Chicago
Pushing a schools renaissance

Who is he? Duncan is CEO of Chicago Public Schools and an adviser on education issues to the Obama campaign.

Why him? As head of the third-largest school district in the country, he has achieved some success in turning around schools. Test scores for elementary students have improved for the past seven years. His long tenure is unusual, since many urban school superintendents leave after just two to three years.

What would be his priorities? He has championed smaller, neighborhood schools, early childhood education, better training and support for teachers and principals, and public-private partnerships for schools. In leading a long-struggling urban district, he is sensitive to issues such as how poverty affects student achievement. 

Bio: A Harvard graduate, Duncan grew up in Hyde Park and attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. While playing professional basketball in Australia for three years, he worked with children who were wards of the state. In 1992, he returned to Chicago to direct the Ariel Education Initiative, which works to advance educational opportunities for low-income children on the city’s South Side. He joined CPS in 1998 and served as deputy chief of staff before being appointed CEO by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Duncan is in the midst of implementing the mayor-backed Renaissance 2010, an ambitious plan to create 100 new schools, including charters and magnets. Low-performing schools have been closed and reopened with new staff and revamped curriculum. The changes have been praised by people who think that urban education has to be reinvented to yield dramatic improvements. But critics, including the teachers’ union, have said that Duncan and Daley are closing schools that were working, moving too quickly to allow time for student improvement and ignoring input from residents.


Buzz in the education world names Chicago's CEO as a possible contender to become the next Secretary of Education

Who should be the next U.S. Secretary of Education?

Among national education leaders, Schools CEO Arne Duncan emerged as a leading contender for the job should Sen. Barack Obama win the Nov. 4 presidential election. While Duncan has previously said in interviews that he has no interest in leaving his current post, he has already served twice as long as the average urban superintendent and is an education adviser (and friend) to Obama, so the time may be ripe for him to make the leap onto the national stage.

On the Republican side, conservative favorite Lisa Graham Keegan, who spoke at the GOP convention and is Sen. John McCain’s chief spokesperson on education, is a top contender. Like McCain, she is from Arizona, where she served as state superintendent of public instruction.

Here are the leading contenders, including two "wild card" picks that could appeal to both Democrats and Republicans and shake up the status quo.

Jonathan Schnur, Linda Darling-Hammond, Janet Napolitano, Arne Duncan, Lisa Graham Keegan, Tim Pawlenty, Jane Swift, Mike Huckabee, Joel Klein, Cory Booker.


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