The mom-in-chief better put her foot down about this . Reuters reports that Sasha and Malia Obama have been invited by Billy Ray Cyrus to guest star on his daughter's hit TV show, "Hannah Montana ." Unfortunately, we all know that Miley "stuck in school's so lame " Cyrus is no role model when it comes to education.

On a more serious note, if we give a 15-year-old celebrity a hard time for some ordinary school-centered angst, what's going to happen to the first daughters? I predict an unfortunate but serious case of growing up too fast. Let's hope there are no bedsheets and cameras involved .

Guest Blogger

Fall intern Molly Kennedy offers up this reading:

Nancy Mitchell writes in the Rocky Mountain News about the excitement Barack Obama's education plans have generated , particularly in the choice sector and for those who think "outside the K-12 box." Education officials in the Denver area cite Obama's comments on education as examples of his openness to "a new generation of education reformers," and as reason to be excited for his election. In Dayton, Ohio, for example, he said that "charter schools that are successful will get the support they need to grow, charters that aren't will get shut down...I want experimentation, but I also want accountability."

Also, check out how Obama's election has been received by many students and schools across the country here , here , and here - just a glimpse....

Guest Blogger

Out there in the world of big media, the speculation is centering on who will land the big jobs at State, Defense, and the Treasury. Here in EducationLand, we are poring over our own choices. Thus far, the speculation centers on a few big-city superintendents,??governors, and even Colin Powell.

Here is my pick: Former Governor James Hunt of North Carolina. Over the past few years, I have gotten to know Governor Hunt as a member of the board of his Institute for Educational Leadership. He never ceases to amaze me with his deep understanding of education issues, his passion for children, and his zeal for improving education.

When he first called to invite me to join his board, I was adamant that I didn't have time to join anything new. I wanted to focus on my writing, not travel to board meetings in North Carolina. I said no. I said no very firmly. About 15 minutes later, I had agreed to be a member


This Jay Mathews article and this Valerie Strauss post both indicate that the Georgetown Day School is the leading contender for the Malia and Sasha Sweepstakes , with the Maret School close behind.

I'm pulling for GDS for one simple reason: it participates in the D.C. voucher program , unlike Maret. And its selection by the Obamas, I believe, will ensure the future livelihood of said program. It's one thing for Candidate Obama to oppose publicly funded vouchers on principle. It's quite another thing for a President Obama to eliminate an existing program and kick his daughters' classmates out of their beloved school. I disagree with Checker on this one: this pick will have major policy ramifications.

Not on Iraq, but on No Child Left Behind .

The Obama administration can get off to a good start by revising NCLB. First, it should eliminate the goal of universal proficiency by 2014, because it is unattainable. Period. No state or nation has ever achieved 100% proficiency. Second, it should recognize that the federal government is best at providing accurate information, such as what children in each grade need to know to be abreast of international standards (that is known as the curriculum) and whether our children are meeting those standards (that is, testing); third, the administration should expect states and districts to fashion appropriate reforms and remedies in their schools.

One thing we have learned since the passage of NCLB nearly seven years ago is that Congress is not the right place to decide how to fix our schools.

Responding to Checker's and my argument that the NEA and AFT were not essential to Obama's sweeping victory, Fred Klonksy, president of the Park Ridge Education Association, writes,

The four million members of the teacher unions were not essential to Obama's victory? These two don't have a clue.

Tell the thousands of union teachers from solid blue states like New York and Illinois that spent their weekends in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin and turned those swing states blue how they weren't essential.

Wonkers like Finn and Petrilli still don't get it that key to this election was what the pols call the ground game. We in Chicago know it wins elections: canvassing, identifying plusses and minuses, getting out the plusses on election day. A grass-roots movement won this election. And the NEA/AFT were in it, from the one in ten delegates at the Democratic convention, to the millions of dollars that were raised and contributed to union PACs, to the teachers in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago that has voted Republican for a 100 years, but that went for Obama on Tuesday.

Go ask the Obama people if he's "so


Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP and current KIPP superintendent in Houston, gives Obama a few words of advice in the Houston Chronicle .

Obama should:

1. ??Open up and simplify alternative education pathways. The human capital shortage is certainly a hindrance to bringing great charter schools to scale--but there are things state and federal legislators can do to help. Steven Wilson explained how in last week's Gadfly .

2. ??Choose a reform minded secretary of education. We couldn't agree more . This secretary needs to motivate and inspire--and choose the right reforms to back up the rhetoric. As usual, Mike was weeks ahead of the competition when he contemplated the right mix of education background, firm grasp of politics, and superlative management skills to fill this key cabinet spot.

3. ??Focus on early childhood education. To my mind, the jury is still out on whether or not we should be scrambling over this one. Despite some anecdotal evidence in support of childhood programs, Checker, amongst others , has been quite critical of universal preschool. Obama endorsed the idea this summer but??(not surprisingly)??we haven't heard much on the topic lately. At...

Lord knows the Obama girls deserve a puppy, maybe a whole litter, as their reward for enduring the miseries of their dad's campaign and mom's frequent absences. (It sounds like they've got a terrific grandma , however, who will be moving to DC with them.)

I trust the family will pick an adorable and politically correct pup. (A beagle would seem especially appropriate, considering that most of them are white and black and brown.)

The White House , after all,??is an easy place to keep a dog. Plenty of backyard, good fences, scads of squirrels, and lots of staff around 24/7. (I suppose even the long-suffering White House gardeners and groundskeepers might have more difficulty with a pony on the South Lawn , though it might make the Obama kids even happier.)

And it will surely be a treat for the country to have two cute youngsters at the White House again after what seems like an awfully long spell with those post-adolescent twins .

Still, being a kid at the White House, for all the superficial glamor and appeal, is not...

Perhaps David Brooks wants to get in on Mike's parlor game, guessing the next Secretary. From David's column today, about his dream Obama administration:

... there won't just be a few token liberal Republicans in marginal jobs. There will be people like Robert Gates at Defense and Ray LaHood, Stuart Butler, Diane Ravitch, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Jim Talent at other important jobs.

The Education Gadfly

We heard from a reliable little bird that Judith Winston, the Department of Education's former General Counsel and Under Secretary under Clinton, has been tapped to lead Obama's education transition team. Ms. Winston wouldn't confirm or deny the information to the Gadfly but said in a phone call that the transition team "announcements should be made tomorrow or early next week." Hmmm.....