Supporting Aggressive Reform: The Arne Duncan Case for Change

Duncan made a reassuring post supporting aggressive reform. His views were echoed by Jon Schnur. Ratvich defends the union line–‘no’ to everything.
Here’s my response:
Broad support is helpful for widespread implementation, but RttT is a package of big ideas meant to be implemented in a handful of places to show the way forward. It’s far more important that a thoughtful package of reforms be implemented in a couple dozen districts in a state than funding a lame plan that no one opposes. To achieve excellence and equity, the big reforms of this decade must include consistently high standards, extended learning time, money that follows kids to the best learning option, and performance-based employment. Employee groups oppose all of the above. RttT should fund states that have a viable shot at implementing an aggressive package of reforms in at least a handful of places as a demonstration of what’s possible. More pictures of what good looks like will change the opportunity set–and the next generation of education policy.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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