Stanford Prof. Linda Darling-Hammond, Obama's transition team-leader for education, is one of the nation's top experts on teaching and learning, assessment, and progressive education generally. Her expertise in these areas make it vital that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appoint her to a top post in the Department of Education. She offers leadership on NCLB reform efforts - particularly in the areas of assessment and teacher training - that other rumored appointees can't match.
We strongly support the appointment of Linda Darling-Hammond to a top post at the Department of Education. If it is true that she is not on the list of EdSec-presumptive Arne Duncan's proposed leadership team for the DoE, we concur with the statement of Sharon Robinson, the president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, when she writes:
"It has come to our attention that Education Secretary Designee Arne Duncan has proposed a leadership team for ED that includes Wendy Kopp, Jonathan Schnur, and Andy Rotherham. I do not know the exact position in each instance, but we can safely assume positions such as deputy, under-secretary, and chief-of-staff are strong probabilities.
"Significantly, Linda Darling-Hammond, who has directed the education policy team for the Transition, is not on Duncan’s list for any position in the Administration. It is imperative that we act quickly to let the Transition Team know that Wendy, Jonathan, and Andy are unacceptable for these roles. They have evidenced a constant and intense disregard for working with the organized education community, and there is no reason to expect them to behave differently as agents of the Department of Education. In the case of Wendy and Jonathan, their appointments would signal expansion for organizations that promote the revolving door of under-qualified teachers as the best answer for poor children. The proposed team, if appointed, would be a grave disappointment for those of us who are hoping to change the education system in the interest of students. Fast-track teachers, scripted instruction, and lots of testing is not an adequate response for low-income students. That is what Kopp and Rotherham are promoting. This is not just a time to simply offer support for Linda Darling-Hammond. This is a moment when we need to let the Transition Team know that the circulated names of Kopp, Schnur, and Rotherham are not acceptable."
Appointing Darling-Hammond to a high post in the DoE would embody the bi-partisan approach President-Elect Obama has advocated throughout his campaign. Further, it would benefit schools, students, teachers, and parents nationwide by continuing to draw on her progressive expertise as NCLB is reformed.
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