Why President Obama Should Start Appointing Actual Educators to Leadership Positions in the Department of Education


I have looked carefully at the backgrounds of the President’s two most recent nominees for upper-level positions related to higher education within the Department of Education. I have absolutely no personal animus against either of these nominees. In fact, they seem like well-intentioned individuals with a strong commitment to public service. But their backgrounds are very similar, and the pattern among Obama nominees that they extend gives me considerable pause. Like the president’s previous appointees, both have very limited or no postsecondary teaching experience, some experience in higher-ed administration but much more extensive backgrounds as successful entrepreneurs with education-technology firms.

To put this as straightforwardly as possible, I think that it is time to stop appointing business managers and technocrats, who have declared themselves and each other to be “educational reformers,” to leadership positions within the Department of Education.

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