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Deb Peterson

Arne Duncan Named Education Secretary by Obama

By December 17, 2008

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I'm excited about Obama's nomination of Arne Duncan as his Secretary of Education. Maria Glod writes about Duncan for the Washington Post:
He has gained a reputation for reaching out to the teachers union and the community, helping to neutralize some potential critics and win allies.

Now, Duncan will take his political skills and reform zeal from the country's third-largest school system to Washington to become the next education secretary, a post that will require him to try to bridge deep divides among education advocates, labor leaders and civil rights groups over how to fix U.S. schools.

"When it comes to school reform, Arne is the most hands-on of hands-on practitioners," Obama said at Dodge Renaissance Academy, adding: "When faced with tough decisions, Arne doesn't blink."

Schools across the U.S. definitely need reforming. As an occasional high-school sub, I have seen the results of teaching to the tests for No Child Left Behind. It doesn't seem to be helping the kids who need extra help, and holds back the kids who could excel if given the chance.

In his book, The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner asserts that we're teaching our kids how to choose the right answer from multiple choices given to them instead of teaching them how to ask the right questions that will enable them to solve open-ended problems using critical thinking.

Surely Duncan is up-to-date on the latest theories on school reform. I hope so. I'm reading up on some of these new theories and will be writing about them here in January. Stay tuned. School is about to be become even more exciting!

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