Obama chooses Superintendent of Chicago Schools as Education Secretary (updated)

Rick Moran
I think Obama's "Team of Excellence" just got its first genuine lemon. It appears that the Superintendent of one of the worst school systems in the country will get the nod as Education Secretary:

Arne Duncan, the Chicago schools superintendent known for taking tough steps to improve schools while maintaining respectful relations with teachers and their unions, is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as secretary of education, Democratic officials said Monday.
Mr. Duncan, a 44-year-old Harvard graduate, has raised achievement in the nation’s third-largest school district and often faced the ticklish challenge of shuttering failing schools and replacing ineffective teachers, usually with improved results.

He represents a compromise choice in the debate that has divided Democrats in recent months over the proper course for public-school policy after the Bush years.

In June, rival nationwide groups of educators circulated competing educational manifestos, with one group espousing a get-tough policy based on pushing teachers and administrators harder to raise achievement, and another arguing that schools alone could not close the racial achievement gap and urging new investments in school-based health clinics and other social programs to help poor students learn.

Choosing someone because he is nice to the teacher's unions might be good politics but hardly qualifies the guy for running the Education Department. Mr. Duncan has indeed improved the performance of Chicago's 600 schools and 400,000 students.

The problem is, it's not hard to do when your graduation rate climbs from a shocking 48% to an almost as jaw dropping 54%. He's fired some teachers - non tenured teachers rather than poorly performing instructors - and he has cautiously encouraged the "Magnet School" concept.

But the battle shaping up in education will be between the disciples of Bill Ayers who think that putting a health clinic in a school helps a kid learn to read and more traditional education professionals who think we should fire a lot of teachers, crack the whip on the bureaucracy, and seek to educate students, not indoctrinate them with a bunch of leftist hooey.

Give the proclivities of our president elect, just who do you think is going to win that debate?

Update:

Clarice Feldman writes:

Tom Maguire who did a great deal to publicize the Obama/Ayers connection which the MSM was studiously avoiding, notes he's rather pleased with Obama's selection for Secretary of Education and  that a number of people who deserve respect in this area share his view.



I think Obama's "Team of Excellence" just got its first genuine lemon. It appears that the Superintendent of one of the worst school systems in the country will get the nod as Education Secretary:

Arne Duncan, the Chicago schools superintendent known for taking tough steps to improve schools while maintaining respectful relations with teachers and their unions, is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as secretary of education, Democratic officials said Monday.
Mr. Duncan, a 44-year-old Harvard graduate, has raised achievement in the nation’s third-largest school district and often faced the ticklish challenge of shuttering failing schools and replacing ineffective teachers, usually with improved results.

He represents a compromise choice in the debate that has divided Democrats in recent months over the proper course for public-school policy after the Bush years.

In June, rival nationwide groups of educators circulated competing educational manifestos, with one group espousing a get-tough policy based on pushing teachers and administrators harder to raise achievement, and another arguing that schools alone could not close the racial achievement gap and urging new investments in school-based health clinics and other social programs to help poor students learn.

Choosing someone because he is nice to the teacher's unions might be good politics but hardly qualifies the guy for running the Education Department. Mr. Duncan has indeed improved the performance of Chicago's 600 schools and 400,000 students.

The problem is, it's not hard to do when your graduation rate climbs from a shocking 48% to an almost as jaw dropping 54%. He's fired some teachers - non tenured teachers rather than poorly performing instructors - and he has cautiously encouraged the "Magnet School" concept.

But the battle shaping up in education will be between the disciples of Bill Ayers who think that putting a health clinic in a school helps a kid learn to read and more traditional education professionals who think we should fire a lot of teachers, crack the whip on the bureaucracy, and seek to educate students, not indoctrinate them with a bunch of leftist hooey.

Give the proclivities of our president elect, just who do you think is going to win that debate?

Update:

Clarice Feldman writes:

Tom Maguire who did a great deal to publicize the Obama/Ayers connection which the MSM was studiously avoiding, notes he's rather pleased with Obama's selection for Secretary of Education and  that a number of people who deserve respect in this area share his view.