The New York Times offered up a helpful primer this week on how Secretary of Education Arne Duncan thinks about the federal role in public education. Here’s an excerpt:
“In a speech last October, Mr. Duncan outlined his view of the proper federal role in education. He quoted President Lyndon B. Johnson, who funneled large amounts of federal money into public schools to help disadvantaged students, as saying Washington should be ‘a partner not a boss’ of local school authorities. Mr. Duncan added his own twist, though. ‘I’m not willing to be a silent partner,’ he said.
‘We’re not going to stand idly by where you have populations that are being poorly served, where we are in fact perpetuating poverty and social failure,’ he said last week in an interview in his office. ‘Our country can’t afford that.’
Washington should support reform, he said, by helping to set high standards, transform failing schools, reduce dropouts and increase college access.”