"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

New Secretary of Education Sweepstakes

Joe Biden's team (Dr. Jill and who else) will be choosing a new Secretary of Education. Of those listed, who's your pick?  If you say Randi (Rhonda) or Lily, your comment will not be posted. 

From WaPo:

Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has rolled back some civil rights protections as well as Obama-era efforts to hold for-profit colleges accountable for poor outcomes. She’s promoted alternatives to public schools and tried to slash federal funding for education. Biden is expected to reverse all of that, with more money for K-12 and higher education, new and revived civil rights protections and a focus on racial equity.

Biden has said he will name a public school educator as secretary of Education, a stab at DeVos, who had no experience with public schools. Many expect that to be someone from the K-12 world. Among those talked about for the job include a handful of big-city school superintendents, such as Sonja Santelises from Baltimore, Janice Jackson from Chicago or Seattle’s Denise Juneau.

Potential picks

Rep. Jahana Hayes

Connecticut congresswoman

Hayes, elected in 2018, is the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. She sits on the Committee on Education and Labor and has sponsored some higher education measures. Before that, she was the 2016 National Teacher of the Year.

Lily García

Former head of the National Education Association

[Always a dependable corporate education loyalist], García recently stepped down as president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union. Before that, she was an elementary school teacher. She is friendly with incoming first lady Jill Biden, who is a community college teacher and member of the NEA.

Tony Thurmond

California state superintendent

Thurmond is California’s state superintendent, where he has pushed for educational equity, a goal Biden shares. In 2018, the Los Angeles Times endorsed Thurmond, saying he has “an unwavering commitment to at-risk students and a deep understanding of the obstacles they face.”

Randi Weingarten

Head of the American Federation of Teachers

Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teacher union. She previously served as president of the union representing teachers in New York City, and was a high school teacher in Brooklyn. Nominating a labor leader could be seen as an affront to those who favor teacher evaluations and other test-based accountability measures.  [Fact check: Weingarten has never opposed either, and corporate ed reform has nothing to worry about with Randi in the driver's seat.]

Reported by Laura Meckler.