Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child

Choosing Arne Duncan

vonzastrowc's picture

President-Elect Obama's choice of education secretary has drawn praise from both Democrats for Education Reform and the National Education Association, two organizations that don't often see eye to eye. His decision certainly muddies the storyline repeated ad nauseam by national commentators: namely, that Obama would have to choose sides in The Great War between the Reformers and the Establishment.

Of course, that story relied on reductive accounts of reform championed by comic-book protagonists who inhabit a world without tradeoffs.

If all goes well, we may be in for a more thoughtful, inclusive and constructive national discussion on how to tackle the most daunting challenges facing public schools.

Hope springs eternal.

Picture credit: Harvard Magazine

Reductive accounts of reform

Reductive accounts of reform championed by comic-book protagonists! That was such a good--and dead accurate--line that I had to repeat it.

It usually takes a year or more for key policy directions to emerge, and grant money to start flowing toward new initiatives. In December of 2009, we'll be able to talk about "reform" with different language and goals. I'm looking forward to it, even if the great ship of education only makes a quarter-turn.

Great post. Thanks for giving me a good chuckle.

Don't know why that last

Don't know why that last comment did not have my name attached. Nancy Flanagan

Well said! The media message

Well said!

The media message machine was pushing a false choice of two poles: Joel Klein "reform" or Linda Darling-Hammond "status quo". Both characterizations are disingenuous and reductive.

Duncan is a moderate sigh of relief... like Obama.

Thanks for your kind notes,

Thanks for your kind notes, Nancy and anonymous....  It's high time we had a more respectful conversation about what's needed.