Does Fordham's Flypaper blog have it right: Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Arne Duncan is the leading candidate to be Obama's Education Secretary? I'd hate to see a wish of David Brooks fulfilled -- not because I have anything against Duncan -- it's more about Brooks. According to some Chicago sources, Duncan may well be in the driver's seat at this point. We'll see if they are right -- and if I'm talking to people "in the know."
Personally, I don't have a strong preference between some of the oft-named candidates. At many levels, I don't think it lives up to all the hype. However, I think an important criteria that hasn't been written about in most of the new stories and blog posts is that the next Education Secretary must have strong communications skills. Because, let's face it, while he or she will be involved in policy decisions, one of the most important roles they will play is to communicate the President's vision and make the case for those education reforms to policymakers. Not all are equal at that task. Just look at the recent Rod Paige experience.
Using that "communications" criteria, I don't know Duncan intimately enough to say whether he floats to the top. One could make the case that many current and former governors might be somewhat more adept with the bully pulpit.
What do you all think? Chicagoans, if you can pull yourself away from the Blagojevich circus, what is your perspective?
DECEMBER 13th Update: Ed Week's David Hoff reports that both Duncan and Denver Superintendent Michael Bennet have undergone FBI background checks.