Bloomberg and Christie Ignore Major Findings on Performance Pay

by Christopher Paslay

Despite growing evidence that performance pay has no effect on student achievement, politicians continue to push for its use.   

In July of 2011, the RAND Corporation issued the following news release about their study on performance pay in NYC public schools:

“A New York City program designed to improve student performance through school-based financial incentives for teachers did not improve student achievement, most likely because it did not change teacher behavior and the conditions needed to motivate staff were not achieved, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

From 2007 to 2010, nearly 200 high-needs New York City public schools participated in the Schoolwide Performance Bonus Program. The study, commissioned by the New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers and funded by the New York City Fund for Public Schools and National Center on Performance Initiatives, is the most comprehensive study on the city’s performance pay program.”

How has New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg reacted to the news?  He wants to double-down on performance pay.  In his State of the City speech last Thursday, 1/12, Bloomberg stated he would push to overhaul the city’s teacher evaluation system, and give top teachers $20,000 bonuses.     

Why has Bloomberg ignored the conclusions drawn by the RAND study?  Because politicians such as Bloomberg realize that the public is more interested in the heightened regulation of teachers than in the actual education of students.      

In 2010, two additional studies on performance pay were released with the following conclusion: performance pay had no effect on student achievement. The first study, by Mathematica Policy Research, took place in Chicago and was published in May of 2010. Of the study, Education Week reporter Stephen Sawchuk writes:

“Preliminary results from schools taking part in a Chicago program containing performance-based compensation for teachers show no evidence that the program has boosted student achievement on math and reading tests, compared with a group of similar, nonparticipating schools, an analysis released last week concludes.”

A second study, which involved almost 300 middle school math teachers in Nashville, Tennessee and was released in September of 2010, revealed much of the same results. Of this study, Education Week reporter Sawchuk writes:

“The most rigorous study of performance-based teacher compensation ever conducted in the United States shows that a nationally watched bonus-pay system had no overall impact on student achievement—results released today that are certain to set off a firestorm of debate.”

Interestingly, a “firestorm of debate” didn’t materialize. In the weeks following the report’s release, supporters of merit pay, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, all but ignored the study, dismissing the findings as premature and too narrow. In fact, like Bloomberg, some education reformers held even tighter to the idea of using merit pay to boost student achievement. New Jersey governor Chris Christie, one week after the findings were made public, announced that he was going to indeed tie teacher pay to student achievement.

Despite enthusiasm from politicians such as Christie, many of America’s school teachers insist they are not motivated by merit pay. According to a 2010 report conducted by Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation titled Primary Sources: America’s Teacher’s on America’s Schools, supportive leadership is listed by educators as the most important factor impacting upon teacher retention. Time given for teachers to collaborate is ranked second, followed by access to high-quality curriculum and a clean and safe building environment. Ranked ninth—dead last—was merit pay.

Likewise, not many teachers felt monetary rewards for teacher performance would have a strong impact on student achievement. Of the 40,000 teachers surveyed in the study, 30 percent said that merit pay would have no impact at all, while 41 percent said it would only have a moderate impact.

Still, supporters of performance pay insist it’s a viable way to increase learning. Dom Giordano, the Philadelphia-based broadcaster and radio personality, wrote in a 2010 commentary for the Philadelphia Daily News that, “all signs point to the conclusion that teachers should join the real world and get paid based on performance.” Giordano’s less-than-polite remarks are not only typical of the public’s anti-teacher sentiment but also an example of how grossly misinformed the average person is on the workings of education (yes, I am well aware that back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Mr. Giordano was a school teacher).

Merit pay may indeed deserve further exploration, but to insinuate that teachers live in some fairytale world is preposterous. If teaching is so easy, if educators are taking free money, then why do so many quit every year? Why is teacher retention costing America seven billion dollars annually?

The fact remains that teaching isn’t easy, that despite low test scores, nearly all teachers face enough daily challenges to earn their keep.  In addition, quality teaching is based on a complex set of variables, teacher motivation being the least of them.  Let’s hope that politicians in the Philadelphia area make an effort to acknowledge this reality, and don’t waste money and resources on policies that have little effect on student achievement.

Advertisements

The Big, Bad Roommate: Why the Department of Education is Overreaching its Powers

by Rainiel Guzmán

On average, federal spending accounts for 10 percent of public school funding.  Yet somehow the U.S. Department of Education continues to dominate policy.                 

Imagine the following scenario: two roommates agree to rent an apartment.  One roommate is named Local and the other State. They cosign the lease agreement and make regular rent payments on time. However, unforeseen fees, inflation and other miscellaneous costs burden their monthly budget. They start to fall behind on their rent payments and are unsuccessful in obtaining modifications on their lease. Desperate they try to cut back from other expenditures yet are unable to cover their deficit. As a last resort they agree to find a third roommate, but whom?

One night Federal, a large, opinionated and manipulative guy knocks on their apartment door.  Local and State answer the door. Federal introduces himself and asks if he could come in to talk about possibly rooming with them. They agree and invite him in. They begin to converse and eventually arrive upon matters of money. Local and State propose that everyone pay a third of the rent. Federal informs them that he is unable to afford that percentage. Local and State are surprised by his statement then ask, “What percentage can you afford to pay?”

“About ten percent,” he answers. Local and State are insulted but find themselves in such dire straits that they entertain Federal’s insane proposition with the hope that he would later change his mind. However, Federal stands firm on his offer. Local and State become angry. Nonetheless they agree to Federal’s terms. This is when things get surreal. Federal proceeds to share some terms and conditions he would like everyone to meet. Federal begins by voicing his concerns about Local and State’s financial mismanagement. He proposes to oversee the payment of bills—to make sure that no bills are left behind. “We need to be more accountable in order to prevent these situations from ever happening again,” he asserts. Local and State begrudgingly agree again. Additional terms and conditions follow.

This account may seem too fantastic to resemble any plausible reality. Nonetheless, this story serves as an allegory of current K-12 public education funding formulae.  Nationwide, local and state governments account on average for 83 percent of K-12 funding. The federal government contributes roughly 10 percent. Private sources account for the remaining contributions. Given this imbalance of funding, one may ask, How can the federal government dominate K-12 public education policy?

The answer is that the federal government is overreaching its powers. The Constitution of the United States enumerates under the Tenth Amendment that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.”

This is why in matters of public education the responsibility for K-12 school policy rests with the states as outlined in the Constitution. The reality we face today is a funding formula unaligned with proportional powers. Would you share an apartment with such a roommate? You probably would not. I certainly would not. Others are expressing their growing reluctance as well.

Discontent over the federal government’s increasing Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements under the No Child Left behind law has pitted several state superintendents—such as Montana’s Denise Juneau—against Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education.  In near open rebellion, Juneau announced her decision to forgo raising Montana’s scheduled annual AYP objectives. Undeterred by the threat of losing federal funds and counting on Congress’ prolonged inaction to rewrite NCLB, Juneau reiterated her stated intentions. The Department of Education’s response was swift—Secretary Duncan backed-off and announced he would unilaterally override provisions of NCLB and “grant” waivers to states seeking redress.

Despite the announcement of waivers Juneau nearly pulled out of NCLB altogether in August. In an earlier letter addressed to Secretary Duncan dated April 25th, 2011, Juneau wrote “In the absence of a new bill, the Department continues to hold states and schools accountable under the current law although the [Elementary and Secondary Education Act] accountability system does not conform to the Department’s new priorities, particularly around growth models for student learning. The split in priorities, established under your leadership and those established in the current ESEA has Montana reeling from additional data collection and uncertain about the path to continuous improvement.”

Ms. Juneau, a Native American and Democrat, along with other state superintendents such as Idaho’s Tom Luna, a Hispanic and Republican, and South Dakota’s Melody Schopp, a veteran classroom teacher and a nonpartisan, represent an interesting challenge to detractors of politicians who appeal to states’ rights as a constitutional imperative. These superintendents who seek to assert the Tenth Amendment defy the moniker of rabid racist secessionists often associated with reactionary rural politicians.

In fear of being evicted from the “Montana Apartment,” the Department of Education found a clause in NCLB allowing Montana to waive the increment of AYP for 2012 free of penalty.  Montana, along with a growing number of states, is asserting its authority over K-12 public education. The Department of Education is reluctantly acquiescing.

Conversely, the Department continues to manipulate the reform conversation through its swollen purse. It continues to pursue prominence in the implementation of education policies with programs such as Race to the Top.  As expected, the “granting” of waivers has been accompanied by additional terms and conditions which, surprise-surprise, accentuate the leading role of the federal government.  

Old habits die hard—if ever.

The moral of this story is this: Be weary of a cheap, bossy, Johnny-come-lately knocking on your door in the middle of the night.  He might turn out to be the worst roommate you will ever have.   

Rainiel Guzman is a 2011 Lindback Distinguished Teacher Award winner.  He is an adjunct professor at Eastern University, and teaches art at Swenson Arts and Technology High School in Northeast Philadelphia.

Huffington Post Links Chalk & Talk Article on Education Page

by Christopher Paslay

On August 8th, The Huffington Post linked my Chalk & Talk article, “Secretary Duncan Uses NCLB Waivers to Push School Reform Agenda,” on its education page.  It was listed on the Huff Post’s “Around the Web” section, and accompanied Joy Resmovits’s article “Obama Education Waiver Plan Could Result In Individual State Accountability Systems.”  (Click here to visit the page.) 

Resmovtis opened by stating, “As students head back to school, the Obama administration is using executive power in an unprecedented move to circumvent a congressional standstill on No Child Left Behind, arguing that the federal education law thwarts states’ distinct policymaking abilities.”

I wrote something similar in the piece the Huff Post linked, although I provided a stronger criticism of Secretary Duncan, bringing to light the fact that the Obama administration is manipulating the regulations behind NCLB to push its own questionable reform agenda.   

Thanks to The Huffington Post for listening.

Historically, U.S. Education Secretaries Have Been Disconnected From The Classroom

by Christopher Paslay

Most will agree that No Child Left Behind is a flawed education reform policy.  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Congress this spring that the “law is fundamentally broken, and we need to fix it this year.” 

President Obama believes this to be the case, which is why he is has directed the U.S. Department of Education to grant waivers to districts that fail to meet annual benchmark standards. 

When President Bush enacted NCLB, he insisted it was a sound policy that would improve education in America.  The reality of the situation, of course, is that good policy doesn’t always translate into good practice.  Those writing policy—scholars, researchers and politicians—are not always plugged-in on the ground floor; few have substantial experience teaching at the K-12 level. 

A top-to-bottom review of those responsible for writing much of America’s education policy reveals interesting results.  Arne Duncan, President Obama’s education secretary, has no experience teaching in a K-12 public school classroom and holds no license to teach in one.  Although Duncan was the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, and was involved in a number of education foundations, his experience working directly with children stems from his time helping his mother run a tutoring program in Chicago, which he spoke about in a speech called “A Call to Teaching” at the Rotunda at the University of Virginia in October of 2009:

“My mother ran an inner-city afterschool program in a church basement on the South Side of Chicago, and raised my sister, brother, and me as part of her program. Every student in her afterschool program was African-American and came from a low-income family. Many of the students had to overcome tremendous adversity every day just to be in that program. When I was little, the older students tutored me. When I got older, I tutored the younger students. That is her philosophy—the 15 year-olds tutor the 10 year-olds, the 10 year-olds tutor the 5 year-olds, and the 5 year-olds help to clean the tables. I saw in that program, day after day and year after year, that a well-run tutoring program is a good thing. But I learned that a good tutoring program run by a caring adult was a great thing. The students my mother tutored felt that she understood them, and they knew that she cared deeply about what happened to them. The sense of connection that great teachers create is second only to a parent’s love in its power to transform lives.”  

Secretary Duncan’s stint helping his mother tutor a small group of urban children in a church basement was no doubt inspiring, but this experience hardly mirrors the challenges facing fulltime teachers in inner-city classrooms.      

Margaret Spellings, George W. Bush’s second-term education secretary, also had no experience teaching in a K-12 public school classroom.  Spellings graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s in political science.  Her experience prior to working for the White House involved writing educational policy at the university and state level.  According to her bio on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, Spellings was the first mother of school-aged children to serve as Education Secretary, so she had a “special appreciation for the hopes and concerns of American families.”

Rod Paige, Bush’s first Education Secretary who received a doctorate in physical education from Indiana University, worked with students as a teacher and a coach, although not at the K-12 level.  Richard Riley, who served as Clinton’s Secretary of Education for both terms, was a lawyer and politician and never taught in a K-12 classroom.  Lamar Alexander, Bush Sr.’s secretary, was a politician and professor and also lacked any K-12 teaching credential.  In fact, the only Education Secretary who ever taught fulltime in a K-12 school was Terrel Bell, Ronald Regan’s first Education Secretary, who taught at the high school level in 1946-1947    

Much of the same holds true at the local level.  Mayor Michael Nutter’s chief education officer, Lori Shorr, has no K-12 teaching experience or licenses.  Although Dr. Arlene Ackerman, superintendent of Philadelphia public schools, has experience as both a K-12 classroom teacher and principal, only one of five members of Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission has any experience teaching in a K-12 school.               

In order for education policy to be sound in theory and practice, the realities of everyday K-12 classrooms—and the voices of those teachers working in them—must be accounted for.  When policy is not balanced with feedback from instructors it can in some cases do more harm than good.

Impossible standards fuel spread of cheating

“‘I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam,’ Woody Allen once said. ‘I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.’

Cheating isn’t usually a laughing matter, though, as the Philadelphia School District is learning. A recently revealed 2009 report by the state Department of Education flagged 22 district-run schools and seven charters for suspicious results on standardized tests. Several city teachers have also reported breaches in test security at their schools, although an internal investigation by the Philadelphia School District concluded that claims of cheating were unfounded. . . .”

This is an excerpt from my commentary in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Impossible standards fuel spread of cheating.”  Please click here to read the entire article.  You can respond or provide feedback by clicking on the comment button below.

Thanks for reading.

–Christopher Paslay

Secretary Duncan Uses NCLB Waivers to Push School Reform Agenda

by Christopher Paslay

In 2001, when George Bush unveiled No Child Left Behind, he was promising America the impossible.  The idea of 100 percent of all children being proficient in math and reading by the year 2014 was more than pie-in-the-sky—it was educational propaganda. 

The reality of the matter is, there are many, many children who, no matter how much time and money are invested in their educations, will never be able to analyze and interpret complex pieces of literature, nor will they be able to work though advanced algebraic and geometric equations; these are the skills required to score “proficient” in math and reading at the high school level on current standardized tests under NCLB.

Not all children are born with the requisite mathematical and linguistic abilities to perform such tasks (imagine if all students in America were required to dunk a basketball to be considered “on grade level” in athletics).  When you factor in poverty, the break-down of the nuclear family, poor nutrition, and the devastating impact television, cell phones, video games, and the internet are having on attention spans, the idea that 100 percent of American children will be “proficient” in math and reading by 2014 is ridiculous. 

But in 2001, when Bush proposed NCLB, the bill wasn’t necessarily about feasibility or even realistic goal setting.  It was mostly about control

As those familiar with both politics and public schools know, when you control education, you control large amounts of money (billions of tax dollars), jobs, votes, etc.  This is the very reason why education must stay “broken”; so the teachers, parents, principals, etc. will continue to be stripped of any real control, and the politicians can stay in the driver’s seat.

But with new politicians come new sets of rules—structured to fit specific agendas.  Which is why President Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, is now declaring (surprise, surprise!) that Bush’s NCLB law is broken and needs to be fixed. 

Estimates on standardized test scores predict that this year, as much as 80 percent of America’s public schools will be labeled “failing.”  Some educators, such as noted education scholar and New York University Professor Diane Ravitch, believe nearly 95 percent of schools will be designated “failing” under NCLB by 2014.    

“This law is fundamentally broken, and we need to fix it this year,” Arne Duncan recently told the House education committee.  Interestingly, Duncan’s way of “fixing” the law is to force states to do things his way, and his way alone; schools in danger of being labeled failing must forfeit all control to Duncan and adopt the Obama Administration’s National Reform Model (charterizing schools; replacing principals; overhauling staff by arbitrarily firing teachers, etc.).

According to a recent story in Education Week:

“States seeking relief from the requirements of the 9-year-old No Child Left Behind Act are taking a wait-and-see approach to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s plan to offer those that embrace his reform priorities wiggle room when it comes to the law’s mandates.

But the idea of waivers is already facing hurdles on Capitol Hill—drawing criticism even from the administration allies. And while the department points to waiver powers that Congress included in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, some naysayers are wondering whether Mr. Duncan has the legal authority to offer states broad leeway on the law’s accountability requirements.

Details on the waiver proposal remained sketchy last week, but it’s clear that states will have to embrace an all-or-nothing package of reforms from the department in exchange for relief under the ESEA, the current version of which is the NCLB law.

‘This is not an a la carte menu,’ Secretary Duncan said during a June 13 call with reporters.”

Indeed it’s not a la carte.  It’s become quite clear that Secretary Duncan does not want individual parents, communities, or teachers having a say when it comes to educating their children; a more appropriate term from his educational menu would be prix fixe

This, interestingly, is a tactic local school district leaders are currently employing in Philadelphia. 

Whether their dictatorial decisions will pay off in the future remains to be seen.

Are School District Leaders Protected by Powers in Washington?

by Christopher Paslay

“The school superintendent, Arlene Ackerman, is here and doing a great job.”

            –President Barack Obama’s remarks from his speech at Julia R. Masterman High School, Philadelphia, PA, September 14, 2010. 

There is one thing noteworthy about the way administrators have run the Philadelphia School District over the past three years: their education agenda and initiatives are right from President Obama’s playbook in Washington. 

Early in 2009, when the President chose former Chicago schools superintendent Arne Duncan as his Education Secretary, there emerged a new plan for public education in America.  Known as the “National Reform Model,” Obama and Duncan set in motion a movement that has radically changed traditional public schools as we know them (tragically, as test scores and graduation rates continue to show, not for the better).

There are four school intervention models included in Obama’s national reform plan.  They are titled “Turnaround,” “Restart,” “School Closure,” and “Transformation.”

As explained by PSEA.org:

“The Turnaround model requires schools to implement nine broad strategies, including replacement of the principals, high-quality professional development, adoption of new governance, and replacement of at least 50 percent of staff.

The Transformation model includes a new evaluation system for teachers and principals, high-quality professional development and design and development of curriculum with teacher and principal involvement.

The Restart model enables a district to re-open a school as a charter school or elect to have an education management organization run the school.

School Closure enables districts to transfer students to other, higher-achieving schools within the district’s boundaries, within a reasonable proximity.”

Do these reform plans sound a lot like those interventions contained in Dr. Ackerman’s Imagine 2014?  The Philadelphia Inquirer thinks they do.  In an editorial published in September of 2010, the newspaper wrote, “much of [Dr. Ackerman’s] five-year strategic plan almost mirrors Obama’s proposals.”   

In some places the Ackerman and Obama agenda are indeed identical.  In fact, in 2010, in order to receive stimulus money from the federal government’s SIG program (School Improvement Grant), the Philadelphia School District literally had to sign an agreement with the government stating that they agreed to commit to the four intervention models.       

And sign they did.  The District sold its soul to Washington and dove headfirst into a reform plan that took control away from the citizens of Philadelphia and placed it—along with millions of tax dollars—in the hands of charter schools and education management organizations and all manner of untested, experimental reform programs.   

The fact that District officials so eagerly embraced the National Reform Model and are pushing an agenda direct from Washington might explain why they are able to get away with so many missteps (think past the current $629 million deficit to the 2010 controversy over security contracts and even past that to the 2009 debacle with Asian students at South Philly High School), any of which would have normally cost a top administrator his or her job.     

In 2007, when former Philadelphia School District Superintendent Paul Vallas discovered a “surprise” $73 million deficit, he resigned.  Granted, he had another job waiting for him in New Orleans, but there was real pressure coming from Mayor Street to hold him accountable.  Likewise, there was pressure to hold James Nevels, the Chairman of the School Reform Commission, accountable; Nevels also resigned and was replaced with new leadership. 

It seems clear, however, that current District leaders have no plans of going anywhere.  Perhaps the powers that be in Washington have too much invested in the Philadelphia School District and the current direction it’s heading.  This just might explain why Mayor Nutter, as well as the rest of the City, continues to stand down to School District officials.       

Of course, Mayor Nutter will claim differently.  He will tell the public that he has things in control, that he just made the District sign an “Accountability Agreement,” but what is this, really?  Is it anything more than smoke and mirrors?  (Is the pending audit by the IRS, which is now in limbo, much of the same?) 

This isn’t to take away from the recent efforts of a few brave local leaders—such as Philadelphia City Councilmen Bill Green and PA State Reps Angel Cruz and Mike McGeehan—to try to bring an end to the District’s troubled leadership.

McGeehan continues to call for Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s resignation in order to bring some financial credibility back to the District in the eyes of Harrisburg. 

In a letter to PA Governor Tom Corbett, McGeehan stated the following: “I am requesting that you, on behalf of the taxpayers of the Commonwealth and the school children of Philadelphia, compel the School Reform Commission to remove Superintendent Ackerman. The continuing controversy surrounding Ms. Ackerman does not serve the best interest of the taxpayers or children of Philadelphia. I ask you to use your authority to request the SRC to immediately end her tumultuous tenure.”  

State Rep. Angel Cruz has also called for laws to regulate the power of the District superintendent.  “The SRC clearly is not properly managing the superintendent or the district,” Cruz told his colleagues in Harrisburg. “My bill would give voters the option to choose the people who are running our school district.”

Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Green, in addition, blasted District leadership in a recent Inquire article headlined, “School District has a management deficit.”  In it Green stated, “Recent events have shown that the crisis at the Philadelphia School District is more about oversight and stewardship than it is about dollars and cents.”

Even the local press seems to be questioning the District’s leadership.  In a recent poll philly.com asked readers, “Does the Philadelphia School District need new management?”  The results were quite telling:  371 folks said YES (97.4%); 3 answered No (.8%); and 7 responded Not Sure (1.8%).

Not that the District seems to care about what anybody thinks about their ability to do their job; they continue to operate as if it were business as usual.  And all the while Philadelphia’s children—as well as the tax payers—continue to pick up the tab. 

Tragically, perhaps because of a blessing from Washington, it appears as if this pattern of reckless management has no foreseeable end.

Inquirer editorial bashes Philadelphia public school teachers

 

 

 

by Christopher Paslay

 

Leave it to newspapers and politicians to oversimplify the problem with public education in America.  The root causes of failing schools are much more complex than bad teachers and a lack of charters, as the Inquirer states in their recent editorial.   

 

For starters, cell phones are destroying attention spans and producing a generation of children addicted to electronic gadgets.  Even the most cutting edge lesson plans have trouble competing with the soft core pornography and computer generated images found in movies, videos games and on the internet. 

 

The divorce rate in America is also an issue.  Many single parents are too overwhelmed with their own social ills to teach their children how to communicate properly and solve problems nonviolently.  Respect for authority in many public schools is at an all time low.

 

In addition, many education policy makers, such as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have no experience teaching.  Often their ideas and strategies are off-base and impractical, and do not translate well in the classroom. 

 

Public education is a direct reflection of American society.  Blaming low student achievement primarily on bad teachers is like attributing heart disease to failing doctors.      

 

Education will only improve in this country when responsibility is equally distributed between teachers, parents, and society at large.   

 

Phila. schools are overdue for more holistic approach

“Public schools are not free-floating, self-contained cities cut off from human civilization. They are rooted in communities and neighborhoods. They are supported not only by teachers and principals, but also by parents, businesspeople, counselors and clergy.

 

No one understands this better than Geoffrey Canada. In 1991, he started the Harlem Children’s Zone, a network of educational and social-service programs aimed at reducing poverty in Harlem. The program, which has been featured on Oprah and 60 Minutes, is groundbreaking because it takes a holistic approach to education.”

 

This is an excerpt from my commentary in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Phila. schools are overdue for more holistic approach”.  Please respond by clicking on the comment button below.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

–Christopher Paslay

10 Facts About Obama’s New Education Secretary

The word is out: President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan as his Secretary of Education.  But who is this man? 

 

Here are 10 Facts About Arne Duncan:

 

1.  He’s been CEO of Chicago’s public schools since 2001.

 

2.  He was appointed deputy chief of Chicago schools by Paul Vallas in 1998.

 

3.  He has a bachelor’s in sociology from Harvard University.

 

4.  He is 44 years old (he was born 11/6/1964).

 

5.  He is known for “reaching out” to teachers unions.

 

6.  The dropout rate in Chicago has gone down every year since he’s been in charge. 

 

7.   Believes in performance pay for teachers.

 

8.  He asked congress in 2006 to double funding for the No Child Left Behind law.

 

9.  He supports the expansion of charter schools.

 

10.  He played pro basketball in Australia from 1987 to 1991. 

 

To read more about Arne Duncan, click here.