The next Secretary of Education needs to be a teacher

In any other field except education, the person chosen to head up a major department has direct experience in that area (“The type of education secretary Biden needs,” New York Daily News, Nov. 17).  The latest example is Betsy DeVos, who knows as much about the realities of the classroom as I do about the realities of an operating room in a hospital.

The usual candidates for education secretary in the past have been at best professors of education from major universities even though they lacked relevant classroom experience.  The rationale was that such people were familiar with the best research studies about education.

I submit that only recent classroom experience in a public school should be the primary basis for the next education secretary.  Such candidates know what teachers need to do their job effectively.  Yes, administrative experience is important as well, but it is secondary to classroom experience.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

6 Replies to “The next Secretary of Education needs to be a teacher”

  1. I’d settle for significant prior classroom experience. Almost by definition, someone with recent classroom experience is going to lack administrative/executive experience. I would not want a career trial attorney named as Attorney General, but rather someone with significant trial experience earlier in his/her career followed by experience administering successively larger programs. There’s also the huge issue of political experience — seems that we would want an Ed Secretary who could deal effectively with Senate and House leaders as well as governors.

    Most importantly, I’d want an Ed Secretary who had excellent critical thinking skills — that is, someone who would approach each issue with a sufficiently open mind that he/she would seriously consider all the competing arguments as well as consciously giving each of the competing arguments the weight it rationally deserved.


  2. Labor Lawyer: Ideally, the next Secretary of Education would have classroom experience as well as administrative experience. But that’s hard to find. I was most surprised when De Vos was named for that post because she had neither.


    1. But her family had contributed a lot of $ to Republican candidates + her strong support for privates/charters/vouchers matched Republican dogma. That she lacked experience in either teaching or administration was irrelevant to Trump. Not too strong in the critical-thinking area either; also, irrelevant to Trump.


  3. Labor Lawyer: I’ll bet the next Secretary of Education will be a university professor who has written extensively about education but who lacks recent classroom experience.


    1. Not sure about that — Jill Biden might have some input re the Ed Secretary selection and she would probably emphasize hands-on teaching experience.


  4. Labor Lawyer: Jill Biden has no recent experience teaching K-12. As a result, she is no better qualified than other professors. Teaching in community college or four-year universities provides no useful background for K-12 reform.


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