Remember the controversy over Linda Darling-Hammond, Obama's campaign and transition adviser on education? Well, she's back. Rumor has it that Darling-Hammond might be getting the deputy secretary position at the Department of Education, which, as this graph shows, wields great power. "That's the person that really runs the agency," one education expert and reformer told me. It's a scenario that reformers, who favor tough new approaches to changing education and see Darling-Hammond as a traditionalist, had hoped wouldn't happen. "I guess we lost on this one," the reformer told me.
Calls to several education policy experts confirmed that word is circulating in the community that she might be tapped as second-in-command under Arne Duncan. "She's made the rounds talking to people, doing the kinds of things you do if you're expecting to stay in Washington," said Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank in D.C. He noted that, if she's not about to get the deputy gig, she could be getting another department position, perhaps one focusing on teacher quality.
In my conversations with them, education policy folks also said they've heard that Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, of which Darling-Hammond isn't a big fan, turned down an administration job. Michael Johnston, an Obama campaign adviser, TFA alum, and school principal who's working in the senior staffing process for the education department, declined to comment on who's getting which posts. "The team will be tremendous," he said in an e-mail, noting that an announcement about senior staff could come any day now.
Reformers are crossing their fingers that Darling-Hammond won't be named the No. 2.