Kevin Carey has an interesting post up over at Q & E about the recent The New Yorker profile of Arne Duncan. Like Kevin I bristled a little at the writer’s division of the school reform world into free market types and liberal traditionalists. Where, for instance, would someone like Ted Sizer fit in that typology? To be fair though the author was writing for a general audience so a long unpacking of the Byzantine alignments within education was probably out of the question.
But perhaps more than Kevin I think the education world can be delineated pretty well by viewpoints on two dimensions: Choice and accountability. Rhee, for example, is as Kevin says a big government reformer but she’s also very open to choice schemes and pluralism in the delivery of educational services so she’s not strictlya government reformer. The simple 2 x 2 below looks at the two dimensions and you can see where various policy actors and interest groups fall along the two continuums. And it’s the actors in the upper right corner combining choice and markets via ideas like charters with a strong dose of public oversight and accountability (Duncan, Rhee, etc…) who seem to be driving the agenda right now.