THE PLANK FEBRUARY 19, 2009
to the contrary, Linda Darling-Hammond, a controversial figure in the
education world, will not be taking any positions in the Obama administration.
Patrick Riccards, CEO of Exemplar Strategic Communications and an education
insider, confirmed to me today that Darling-Hammond, a Stanford professor, has
e-mailed him to say she won't be working at the Department of Education for
legitimate family reasons. "I wanted to let you know that several things have
converged in the last two weeks to persuade me to stay in California and support the President's
agenda from here. Several funders have indicated they want to make major
investments in a new Policy
Center I was just
beginning to get off the ground at Stanford when I left to work on the
transition," she wrote in the e-mail, obtained by TNR. "With everything she's
done with the Obama campaign and everything she's done with the transition, she
had a great pull to help with the work, but she was needed in California,"
Riccards told me.
was a key education adviser during the election and chaired Obama's transition
education policy team. She has been berated
heavily by the education reform community, which views her as favoring the
status quo in Democratic education policy for her criticisms of alternative
teacher certification programs like Teach for America and her ties with teachers'
unions. A seeming frontrunner for the deputy position at the education
department, Darling-Hammond had reportedly been making the rounds in D.C. in
recent weeks, meeting with education experts as though preparing for a
leadership position. Several reformers had indicated in interviews that having
Darling-Hammond in the second-in-command role would symbolically, and possibly
substantively, undermine Obama's credentials as an education change-agent.
As for who
will get the deputy slot, there's no clear answer at this point. "You could
throw a dart against the wall," says Riccards. "They have a lot of people
they're talking about. ... And that's one reason [Darling-Hammond] wanted to start
letting people know today, because she didn't want her name to continue to