Newsweek Captures Sec. Duncan’s Address at the SMHC Task Force Meeting

In “Obama’s Stealth Education Reformer,” Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift reports on U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s presentation at the SMHC Task Force meeting on August 4. Clift writes, “Duncan turned heads when he entered the Ritz-Carlton in Washington early this month in part because he’s so tall (6-foot-5), and because he is offering the kind of strong, spirited leadership that the education community doesn’t often associate with Washington.” Clift reports that sitting alongside SMHC co-directors Allan Odden and Jim Kelly and SMHC Task Force chair Governor Tim Pawlenty, Duncan urged the SMHC Task Force to “move outside [its] comfort zone,” and insisted that a lack of political will would be the only explanation if we fail to reform the U.S. education system.

According to Clift, Duncan has moved swiftly and effectively – and largely under the radar – to advance the agenda of tying data on student achievement back to individual schools and to teachers. Forty-six states have signed on to voluntarily work together to adopt common core standards and assessments of student achievement. The move towards common standards is critical to successfully reforming and restructuring school human resource practices. SMHC has emphasized the need for rigorous, clear standards that provide school districts with a single instructional vision, to which all human resources functions can be aligned.

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