The good news is that the grants will open up other possibilities for districts besides closing schools and firing entire teaching staffs. But many worry that the bulk of the funding could go to already flush business-model reformers like Teach for America and charter schools operators.
But hope springs eternal:
"I was just trying to highlight that innovation comes from different places," Duncan said. "I was trying to set a tone that we're not going to look at the usual players, the usual suspects."We'll see.