Obama lays out vision for education reform steeped in ‘deep pragmatism’ and not ‘clouded by ideology.’

Just a few moments ago, President-elect Barack Obama announced Arne Duncan — the superintendent of the Chicago schools — as the next Secretary of Education. Duncan is being described as someone “known for taking tough steps to improve schools while maintaining respectful relations with teachers and their unions.” During the press conference to announce his choice, Obama was asked to lay out his vision on education reform:

OBAMA: What we can expect is that each and every day, we are thinking about new and innovative ways to make schools better. … One of the things that Arne and I share is a deep pragmatism in terms of how we go about this. If pay-for-performance works and we can work with teachers so that they don’t feel like it’s being imposed on them, but instead, they’ve got an option for different compensation mechanisms in order for us to encourage high performance, then that’s something we should explore.

If charter schools work, let’s try that. Let’s not be clouded by ideology when it comes to figuring out what helps our kids.

Watch it:


The Wonk Room has more details on Duncan’s background.


Ezra Klein and Dana Goldstein have more.