President-elect Obama. Congratulations, Arne Duncan!
Arne Duncan is a great choice for Secretary of Education because he's been in the trenches of school improvement for seven years as CEO of Chicago Public Schools. Like Barack Obama, he's a pragmatist, not an ideologue. He's demonstrated a deep commitment and passion for improving opportunities for disadvantaged young people. He knows that improving schools means involving parents.
As Obama said in his announcement today, we have been "stuck in the same tired debates that have stymied our progress and left schools and parents to fend for themselves: Democrat versus Republican; vouchers versus the status quo; more money versus more reform — all along failing to acknowledge that both sides have good ideas and good intentions."
Duncan knows that neither vouchers nor more money will magically cure schools. Rather, we need to get parents involved, raise standards, improve the quality of teachers and leaders, and provide all children with a rich curriculum and experience.
As Obama noted in his press conference, "We need a new vision for a 21st century education system — one where we aren't just supporting existing schools, but spurring innovation; where we're not just investing more money, but demanding more reform; where parents take responsibility for their children's success."
We at GreatSchools stand ready to work with Arne Duncan and the Obama Administration to improve our nation's schools. Leveraging the technologies of our time, we have a unique opportunity to involve parents in this crusade in a way that has never been seen before.