Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008-12-16 Roundup

Obama nominates yet another Harvard grad as well as Hyde Park neighbor and basketball partner Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Duncan has done such a fabulous job running the Chicago Public Schools that the Obama's had their own children enrolled there---oh wait, no. The girls were enrolled in the University of Chicago Lab School instead, Duncan's alma mater. I'm tremendously thankful his nominee wasn't Bill Ayers who is on the faculty of the University of Illinois, though I've no doubt his opinions will matter.

This from Education Matters.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Arne Duncan will be named Secretary of Education. This appointment most likely means Obama and Duncan will make the NEA very happy while the taxpayers and children will suffer the consequences.
From Joanne Jacobs:
Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago schools, will be Obama’s secretary of Education. Duncan was no miracle man in Chicago, as Eduwonkette has pointed out. And he’s not as radical as D.C.’s Michelle Rhee. But he’s faced the biggest problems in education in Chicago — and he’s a personal friend of Barack Obama.
This Week in Education has a pretty good rundown of other comments.
And this Chicago Tribune two page piece has a more generous view of Duncan's term in Chicago.
No comment from the Chicago Teacher's Union yet.

Regarding bailing out the Big 3 (as measured by debt) Nathan Moore writes:
"The UAW (et al) are surprisingly uppity, considering they are a primary cog in an industry that should have ceased its existence years ago.
The only thing surprising about union uppity-ness is that union workers don't see the downside of their actions. You'd think that eventually they'd realize they were killing the golden goose.

Open Government from the REPUBLICAN majority: Ben Cunningham has the links to the interviews the REPUBLICAN Caucus did with the constitutional officer candidates yesterday. Also the applications. Let's make this the first in a long line of improvements from the way the Democrat controlled Tennessee legislature ran Tennessee. At left Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) offers the "Bowl of Transparency" to Presumptive Speaker Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) from which the names of the candidates was randomly drawn to determine the order of the interviews.

I saw a bit of it yesterday live streamed. Presumptive Speaker Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) made a point of letting folks watching know that the REPUBLICANS welcome citizen input and you're welcome to send them email, faxes, and call them on the phone with your comments. They did say that comments that are anonymous will not be considered. If you're going to say something---include your name, address and phone number.


N.S. Allen said...

Duncan seems like a decent enough choice, to me. Obviously, he hasn't turned the Chicago Public Schools into a great success story - but, if he had, he wouldn't be Arne Duncan. He'd be the Second Coming. One education CEO doesn't singlehandedly correct a long history of poverty and dysfunction, and, as such, it's no shocker that Obama and people in positions like his continue to send their children to better performing schools, like the Lab School.

(Personally, I still think that we should expect the well-off and public figures, Obama included, to send their kids to public schools, regardless, but that's something that the vast majority of people wouldn't be willing to accept.)

Duncan, more importantly, is a middle ground in clashes between reform advocates and the teachers' unions. If you're interested in real reform, you don't want to start off the administration with someone that one of those sides is going to unequivocally hate - education in this country is too localized to hope to get things done without working around both groups. Duncan's appointment has gotten praise from both sides, which means that he'll have a clean slate for whatever the administration decides to try.

The sad truth, of course, is that the economic situation will probably sideline education reform. I'd like to hope that the Obama administration will make increased funding for schools, attached to reform requirements, a part of his public works plan, but I imagine that, with all the other things he's going to need to spend political capital on, that will be one thing that would get blocked, even if he proposed it.

But I suppose we'll have to see who's in the new Senate and how it behaves, to know for sure.

Kay Brooks said...

NS wrote: "The sad truth, of course, is that the economic situation will probably sideline education reform. "

Because government money is essential for education reform?