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TRANSITION: How The EdSec Nomination Went Wrong

Still no news on the EdSEc nomination, though some say it could come later this week or early next week. 

How did this process get so messy and prolonged?  Most of the other Obama selections haven't gotten stuck or ugly like this, at least not in public.  School reform isn't any more controversial or internally conflicted than, say, health care reform.  And it's entirely possible that the internal deliberations within the transition have been much calmer and more cooperative than the screaming and tearing of hair that has taken place on the outside among advocates who want or don't want Klein, Rhee, LDH, etc. 

So what happened?  Internal conflicts among education advocates were poised to erupt after so many years of frustration with the accountability approach to education.  After the election, the Obama team stopped sending reassuring signals to education advocates, creating a vacuum.  Putting the education appointment towards the end of the process created too much time.  And there was no strong moderate choice that could have been a stabilizing force from the start. 

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Why is Linda D-H not seen as a moderate. She's neither part of the "business-world" reformers represented by Klein, et al, not a union stalwart, not a defender of current or past practice. She been exploring in the most serious way what is best from all of these, and how we can move schools not to one ideal model, but to many models, considerable choice (if not vouchers), more inclusive forms of assessment and accountability (which would have worked better for business too!), and a history of treating everyone respectfully, and vast knowledge--practically no one can "out-fact"

She "stands for something", but she's also a pragmatical reformer--and has kept her head above the fray over 40 years and one fad after another.

Deborah Meier

I agree with Deborah -- Linda Darling-Hammond IS the moderate reform choice. The notion of Linda as "status quo," as the "reformers" are calling her, is absurd. I am a high school principal in California, and from her position at Stanford, she has been one of the most prominent and effective advocates of progressive school reform in the state, if not the nation. She supports real redesign of schools, not tinkering around the edges. She is a huge advocate of teacher quality and teacher training. She is always focused on equity and on improving the achievement of low-income students and students of color. And while advocating for real reform in these ways, she is politically smart and a bridge builder. Linda would be a very strong choice for Secretary of Education, and I think in keeping with Obama's other cabinet picks -- someone very smart and talented, not representing a particular ideological camp.

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