Amy Fagan

The buzz about who'll be the next education secretary seems to be picking up a bit. The AP reports that Virginia Governor Tim Kaine says he doesn't want the job. Apparently, he mentioned it during his monthly radio show this morning, restating his intent to remain in Virginia through the end of his term in January 2010....

Amy Fagan

The AP reports that Arne Duncan, Chicago Public Schools chief, did indeed meet with outgoing Education Secretary Margaret Spellings this morning. In an interview with the AP, Duncan said the visit had nothing to do with the possibility of being chosen to serve as the next education secretary. But, of course, Duncan is among a few names being circulated as likely candidates for the post. He told the AP: "I was just meeting with Secretary Spellings; we're hoping she comes to Chicago next week to talk about some of the work that she supports in Chicago." He said he has "no idea" when the education post will be announced. He also chatted briefly about what needs to be addressed in education and expressed high hopes for Obama's plan. You can read the whole story here....

We know it was tough to be Gadfly-less through Thanksgiving (although we hope our sumptuous video menu helped tide you over). Good news: we're baaaack. This week, the top slot features a guest editorial from Charles Chieppo and Jamie Gass of Massachusetts' Pioneer Institute on the future of the MCAS. Recent recommendations on how to amend this top notch test to include "21st century skills" seem more likely to backtrack the assessment than actually hop it into the 21st century. Then check out some unbelievable stories from Florida (Carvalho's head is still in the clouds), California (Thanksgiving an occasion for violence?), and New York (the clock's run out on those Rubber Room reserve pool teachers).

You'll also find a lively discussion on this week's podcast (featuring not only guest co-host Dave DeSchryver but also Monty Python) and two letters to the editor from Michael Casserly of Council of Great City Schools and Andy Smarick of the U.S. Department of Education. The former loved Eric's op-ed from two weeks ago and the latter wants to clear up some confusion surrounding NCLB's recent four-year graduation rate regulations. Finally, take a...

The Education Gadfly

Arne Duncan loses 7 percentage points today, but it hardly matters given his substantial lead. Caroline Kennedy scoots up the big chart today, inching past Ray Mabus, whose support is increasing ever so slightly. Word on the street is Freeman Hrabowski doesn't want the job . John Deasy's name was mentioned for the first time today, but no one gave him enough votes to get him on the board. Given that he recently accepted a position at the Gates Foundation , it seems unlikely to us that he will be tapped, but stranger things have happened.

Who has retired from the spotlight? These names have had their moment on stage and have been heard from no more: Napolitano, Huckabee, Richardson, Canada, Lomax, Oprah. Powell, who is now at 2% of the vote, falling from 13.5%, may be about to join the group.

I'm not siding with those who fear the red pen, but colors can matter ??? here's a description of a study which found referees in fencing were biased toward those wearing red (rather than blue), and the same writer points to other research showing that hockey and football players wearing black uniforms act more aggressively, and are perceived as being more aggressive. But what I really want to know is, does the color of school uniforms affect test scores?

Field hockey photograph by KamalSell from Flickr

Jeb Bush must be tiring of the grueling hours and thankless hard work of life in an education think tank, as Politico reports that he may seek a Senate seat. And Florida's outgoing (Republican) House speaker says, "I think Jeb Bush should run and if he does I think he'll win." It would be interesting to see whether education would continue to be a central issue for him there, as it has been in the past.

Jeb Bush photograph from
Amy Fagan

Over at the AP, Libby Quaid is reporting that Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan is supposed to have coffee with outgoing education secretary Margaret Spellings tomorrow morning at the Education Department! According to the story, Duncan's camp says he's in town for a dropout prevention meeting and simply wants to stop by and invite Spellings to a Chicago schools event. Hmmmm??????perhaps. But perhaps there's more to chat about?????? Duncan's name, of course, is being floated for the next education secretary, and he is the clear leader in Fordham's daily tracking poll on the matter.

Margaret Spellings picture from Department of Education website

Dunkin' Donuts coffee picture from Dunkin' Donuts website

Arne Duncan picture from Chicago Public Schools website...

Amy Fagan

Teachers in Australia are being told to avoid using red pens to mark their students' work, because the color can be seen as aggressive. Huh? I had to re-read that one, just to make sure I understood. Apparently the advice ??? given out to about 29 schools as part of a Queensland Health kit ??? has caused quite the brouhaha. Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle called it a ???kooky, loony, loopy, Left policy.??? And Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Associations President Margaret Black made an impassioned plea to scrap it. ???We're calling for our children to grow up normally, including their work being marked with a red pen," she said.

The intensity of it all sounds like a debate over global warming or financial bailouts ??? not the use of a red writing implement.

The Courier-Mail of Brisbane and Queensland actually put together a photo gallery of ???red pens in action,??? warning that ???images may disturb some users.???

Some see the red pen situation as no laughing matter, though. According to the courier mail article:



The daily tracking poll grinds on, as our Washington Insiders* beg for President-Elect Obama to announce his domestic policy team, and in a hurry. The fatigue is clearly setting in, as today's results look strikingly similar to yesterday's. (Though the Big O is gone.)

One surprise (to me at least) is that our gang thinks New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein still has a shot. Really? Maybe Randi wants him out of the Big Apple. Still, by my reckoning, it's going to take some fancy dance moves for Mr. Chancellor to get the nod.

Others mentioned today: Colin Powell, Mike Easley, Hugh Price, Tom Vilsack, Beverly Hall, Jim Hunt, Freeman Hrabowski, Erskine Bowles, Roy Barnes, Ronnie Musgrove, and Jim Shelton.

* As a service to one of our readers who is suffering memory loss (not to mention fading fame and glory), the ten insiders are: me; Joel Packer, NEA; Michelle McLaughlin, TFA (Formerly AFT); Kevin Carey, Education Sector; Fritz Edelstein, Public/Private Action; Brooks Garber, National Alliance of Public School Choice; Nina Rees, Knowledge Universe; Dave DeSchryver,...

In light of the current financial calamity, was this really the best location for this speech? From Education Daily:

Spellings to speak today in Las Vegas

In the wake of several high-profile moves to secure the federal student loan market, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is scheduled to address the Federal Student Aid Conference today at Bally's Hotel and Ca??sino in Las Vegas.

Spellings is to discuss recent action taken by the Bush administration to promote college accessibility, af??fordability and accountability.

The education secretary will speak at 9 a.m. PST and will hold a media availability at 9:45 a.m. PST.

Las Vegas photograph from LaserGuided on Flickr