President-elect Barack Obama has picked the chief of Chicago’s Public school system to be his Secretary of Education. Arne Duncan has headed the nation’s third largest school system since 2001 and is a friend and basketball partner of Obama. Duncan must be confirmed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to be formally accepted as Education Secretary. The choice of Duncan is an interesting one given the various competing ideologies on education. On the one hand, those who want so-called “education reform,” are looking for an Education Secretary who will hold schools and teachers accountable for student test scores and are in wary of teachers’ unions. On the opposite side are the unions themselves and their Democratic Party supporters. With Duncan’s appointment, it seems as though the reformers have been placated, rather than the unions, who preferred Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford University.
GUEST: Michael Klonsky, Chicago-based education activist and a leader in the so-called small schools movement. Read Klonsky’s blog at michaelklonsky.blogspot.com.