As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to announce his choice for education secretary, there is mystery not only about the person he will choose, but also about the approach to overhauling the nation’s schools that his selection will reflect.
Despite an 18-month campaign for president and many debates, there remains uncertainty about what Mr. Obama believes is the best way to improve education.
Will he side with those who want to abolish teacher tenure and otherwise curb the power of teachers’ unions? Or with those who want to rewrite the main federal law on elementary and secondary education, the No Child Left Behind Act, and who say the best strategy is to help teachers become more qualified?
The debate has sometimes been nasty.
“People are saying things now that they may regret saying in a couple of months,” said Jack Jennings, a Democrat who is president and chief executive of the Center on Education Policy in Washington. “Unfortunately, they’re all friends of mine, which makes it awkward.”