Monday, January 12, 2009

Education appointments

If we are to have key leaders in the Department of Education who will support the principles in the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB, you must act now.

I have heard from several sources in whom I have confidence that when confirmed, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will appoint to key positions in the Education Department several people whose views and stances are contrary to the Joint Statement, and who therefore may well oppose needed changes to the federal law.

Among the names are:
- Andrew Rotherham of Education Sector, a major supporter of NCLB's test-and-punish approach and of high-stakes testing.
- Russlyn Ali of Education Trust West, to head the Office of Civil Rights in the Education Department; Education Trust is a major supporter of NCLB and believes in high stakes testing of individuals, even though minority youth are disproportionately denied diplomas based on these tests.
- Wendy Kopp, Teach for America.

There are additional concerns about these possible nominees. There also may be others named who share their approach to not changing NCLB. Nominees to key positions such as Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education should be the sort of people who would support the Joint Statement.

If they are nominated, it will be very hard to block them.

Therefore, the best approach is to try to dissuade Duncan and President-elect Obama from even nominating them.

We do not have a direct line to either Mr. Obama or Mr. Duncan.

Therefore, we suggest developing pressure against these potential nominees by calling the offices of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL and Assistant Majority Leader), key members of the Senate HELP Committee (which will have to confirm nominations to Deputy and Assistant Secretary positions), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Calls are far more valuable than emails, so CALL NOW.

Sen. Dick Durbin - (202) 224-2152
Sen. Harry Reid - (202) 224-3542

HELP Committee:
Sen. Ted Kennedy - (202) 224-4543
Sen. Tom Harkin - (202) 224-3254
Sen. Chris Dodd - (202) 224-2823

When you call, acknowledge this is what you have heard and it makes you very concerned, but even if it is not these specific people, it is important that key people in the department support the Joint Statement.
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