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, reports the New York Times. Despite an 18-month campaign for president and many debates, there remains uncertainty about what 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. Some of the toughest criticism has been aimed at the person Obama appointed to lead his education policy working group, the most important education post of the transition: Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford University. Dr. Darling-Hammond is liked by the teachers’ unions, and partly for that reason she has been portrayed as an enemy of school reform by detractors. These have included people who have urged Obama to appoint Joel I. Klein, the New York City schools chancellor, or Michelle Rhee, the schools chancellor in Washington, as education secretary. Both of them have clashed with teachers’ unions…

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