Close to the Vest

“Arne Duncan took a step toward becoming the next U.S. secretary of education Tuesday, but the Chicago public schools chief had little to say about higher education during his Senate confirmation hearing … While Duncan frequently spoke of ‘access’ and ‘affordability,’ he didn’t mention a third ‘a-word’ — ‘accountability.’ The omission was significant, given the fact that pressure for greater accountability in higher education has been a crucial issue for Margaret Spellings, who is in her final days as President Bush’s secretary of education. Duncan did note, however, that the U.S. is losing its competitive edge internationally when it comes to the educational achievement of its citizenry. ‘The United States hasn’t so much fallen behind as other countries have passed us,’ he said. ‘Other countries have taken this much more seriously’ … (more)

[Jack Stripling, Inside Higher Ed, 14 January]

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