Some Parting Recommendations

Monday, January 12, 2009

To: Arne Duncan, education secretary-designate

From: Margaret Spellings, education secretary

Re: Advice

Congratulations. I don't want to hurt you, but I think you're a great choice. You're the right guy at the right time. I look forward to working with you and know you to be compatible, tough-minded and someone who does what's right on behalf of kids. You'll need those characteristics as secretary.

Stay strong. Don't let anything deter you from your mission of ensuring a quality education for every single child in America.

Love or hate it, No Child Left Behind has changed the conversation about education forever. It's about the needs of kids and it's right and righteous.

Guard against anybody who wants to walk away from our need to serve all children. We can't go back to the days of not caring enough to find out how our schools are performing. High standards and accountability for results are here to stay.

Finally, treat education reform as the bipartisan issue it should be. . . . You have a tremendous number of friends and allies on both sides of the aisle willing to fight for reform--including me. Call on us.

P.S. From Rod Paige, education secretary before Spellings:

Get our best teachers involved in policymaking. Years of working for improvements have taught me that without their involvement, changes in the local school too often won't take root.

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