The most reliable product of elections is speculation, and the 2020 presidential campaign is no exception. Even while votes are still being counted, chatter proliferates over how big President-elect Joe Biden’s victory margin will grow, what policies will change, and who will be named to the top government jobs. That means education observers spent much of the past week pondering the identity of the nation’s next education secretary.
Some in the political press have tipped teachers’ union leaders like Randi Weingarten and Lily Eskelsen Garcia as early favorites, citing Biden’s ties to organized labor. Such a suggestion would likely horrify Democrats for Education Reform, the party’s leading voice on accountability and school choice, which has circulated its own list of big-city superintendents. One leading contender, California scholar Linda Darling-Hammond, has already withdrawn from consideration.
It’s a period when conjecture is thickly tinged with advocacy. But according to Maria Ferguson, the former head of George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy, virtually no one outside the Democratic Party leadership has any meaningful insight into who will lead the Department of Education in a few months’ time.