It is reported this morning that President-elect Obama is expected to name Arne Duncan as the new secretary of education today. According to a transition team member,
Duncan has been Chicago's top school official for seven years, has overseen the closure of struggling schools, advocated merit pay for better teachers, and adopted a program to use private money to reward children for better grades. He has straddled two competing factions of the education community: the teachers unions, who push for more funding and smaller classes, and a movement that favors accountability and free-market-style incentives and looks to hold schools and teachers more accountable for student performance.
Duncan spent six years working at Ariel Education Initiative, which tried to create educational opportunities for inner-city students on Chicago's South Side.