Americans Should Be Generally Happy with New Education Secretary

The American people may not know all the ins and outs of education reform, but enough of them get the big ideas to give me hope for the future. Look at this recent poll from Rasmussen Reports (H/T Mike Antonucci):

But two-thirds of U.S. voters (66%) say the teachers’ unions – the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – are more interested in protecting their members’ jobs than in the quality of education.

Only 23% of voters say educational quality comes first for the unions, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided….

Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters also believe the secretary of Education should be an advocate for students rather than teachers, but 19% say teachers should be the secretary’s priority. Fifteen percent (15%) aren’t sure. [emphases added]

If we were to put A and B together, it seems that 2 out of 3 Americans should like the idea that President-elect Barack Obama didn’t select the unions’ favorite candidate to be Secretary of Education. There are differing opinions about the mettle of Chicago Public Schools CEO and soon-to-be Education Secretary Arne Duncan. But some are quite confident that he will shake things up to help advance positive education reform:

“The Obama administration, with Arne Duncan at the head of the Department of Education, will lead the charge of breaking the existing ideological and political gridlock to promote new, innovative and experimental ideas in education,” said Joe Williams, executive director of [Democrats for Education Reform].

What do I think? I’m not sure. Sometime after I open my Christmas presents (less than a week away!), I’ll let you know. Remember, your favorite edu-blogging prodigy could use some sporty additions to my Matchbox collections. You can’t really go wrong with Legos, either….