Chicago schools superintendent Arne Duncan has been appointed the secretary of education in the Obama administration. The LA Times reports that
â€œ…over seven years [Duncan has] maintained a positive story line for the troubled district…Since 2001, when Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley plucked Duncan from obscurity to head the country’s third-largest school district, Duncan has gained a reputation as a reformer who isn’t afraid to rankle the teachers union and punish underperforming schools.Â His decisions to pay students for good grades, back an unrealized plan for a gay-friendly high school and consider boarding schools often polarized the community while bolstering his renegade image.â€ (LATimes)
Duncan’s appointment seems to be making both political parties happy, as he argues that “the nationâ€™s schools needed to be held accountable for student progress, but also needed major new investments, new talent and new teacher-training efforts.” (NYTimes) Bush education secretary Maragret Spelling calls Duncan “a reform-oriented school leader who has been a supporter of No Child Left Behind and accountability concepts and teacher quality…He’s a kindred spirit.â€™â€ DuncanÂ is also known for re-opening the Dodge Renaissance Academy on the west side of Chicago after the city shut it down in 2002. Also, he’s got mad basketball skillz. He played professionally in Australia. Word. More on NYTimes.com.