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Inauguration: Remembering Four Years Ago

Four years ago:

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*President Obama was talking education in his Inaugural Address, noted EdWeek

*Chairman Miller was the only one who thought his education remarks were good.

*Arne Duncan was the easily-confirmed appointee to be Education Secretary... obviously less fiery that New York City's Joel Klein (who clearly wanted the job but was thrown under the bus by the reform community he'd helped lead to prominence) but still much more reformy than progressives' pick, Linda Darling-Hammond.

*To little effect, Chicago news outlets tried to give a reality check on Duncan's actual accomplishments.  Then again, Duncan did sign his kids up for public school, shaming his boss (not for the first time).

*NCLB was just seven years old.

*Eduwonkette was penning her last blog posts.

*Park Slope's John Jay HS still had poor minority kids.

*There was still such a thing as winter, and snow days.

*The education provisions in the Stimulus were being gushed over in the media and examined by DFER's Charlie Barone and AEI's Rick Hess.  Little did we know at the time how misguided the charter school cap removal, among other aspects, would seem just a few months later.  Little did the 12 states that eventually won what would become Race to the Top would appreciate the money and regret the promises they made to get it.

*The Obamas had chosen Sidwell Friends for their daughters but were going to make a socioeconomically diverse charter school, Capital City, the first school they visited as President and First Lady. 

What else was there?  I'm sure I'm leaving good stuff out.


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The remarks of President Bush praising Arne Duncan's accomplishments in Chicago are humourous in retrospect and remind us of what terrible judgement President Obama's predecessor had with regard to educational and personal accomplishment. The last four years, desultory as they were, feel like paradise compared to the awful gloom of the years preceding.

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