Friday, October 2, 2015

U.S. education secretary who clashed often with California to resign | EdSource

U.S. education secretary who clashed often with California to resign | EdSource:

U.S. education secretary who clashed often with California to resign

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who clashed frequently with California education officials on a range of K-12 education policy issues, announced that he will resign his position in December.
He will be succeeded by former New York Education Commissioner John King Jr., who was appointed deputy secretary of education under Duncan in January. President Barack Obama is expected to make an announcement to that effect at 12:30 p.m. California Time. 
Duncan is the longest-serving member of Obama’s cabinet. In an email sent to his staff this morning, Duncan said “as a comparatively small team, often under challenging conditions and timelines, our staff has continued to offer example after example of dedication beyond the call of duty.”
The administration and California education leaders found common ground on some major reforms, most notably on implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
However, one of the major points of disagreement was the administration’s insistence on linking teacher evaluations to test scores. The requirement was one of the conditions that the department imposed on states seeking a waiver from penalties of the No Child Left Behind law. California is only one of seven states not to have received a waiver. Gov. Jerry Brown said that Duncan had no authority to impose requirements for teacher evaluations under the NCLB law, and submitted California’s waiver application without the teacher evaluation component.
“History will show that compared to some secretaries of education, Duncan had a significant impact on national and state public policy,” State Board of Education President Michael Kirst said Friday. “But a number of his policies did not fit well with the specific context in California.”
When the Obama administration rejected California’s first application for a waiver in 2012, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said, “It is disappointing that our state’s request – which enjoyed such strong support from parents, teachers, administrators, and education advocates across California – has been rejected.”
Duncan started giving state waivers from NCLB in 2011, after a deeply divided Congress could not agree on changes to reauthorize the law. That remains the case, and so the law, formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, limps along as written in 2002 with flaws that both Republicans and Democrats agree should be fixed, although they disagree over how to do so.
With the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, it seems even less likely that a bipartisan majority will be able to agree on a rewrite of the law before Obama leaves office.
However, while rejecting California’s application for a statewide waiver, eight California school districts, which formed the California Office to U.S. education secretary who clashed often with California to resign | EdSource: