Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced that former DOE staff member Ann Whalen is returning to Washington, D.C., as a Senior Advisor to Education Secretary Arne Duncan overseeing the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. This is good news for the administration and especially good news for America’s schoolchildren.
No one will fight harder than Ann to protect children. No one will fight harder to preserve needed improvements that have made a positive difference in their lives. Few people bring to the job her knowledge, insight and courage.
In her previous role at DOE, Ann helped shape and manage the administration’s signature policy initiatives, including Race to the Top and the waivers to No Child Left Behind. Thanks in part to these efforts, most states today are teaching to higher learning standards and taking greater responsibility for academic outcomes. They have more flexibility in how they support teachers and close achievement gaps. More decisions are based on data rather than guesswork. Fewer schools mask educational deficiencies behind opaque and unresponsive bureaucracies. Best of all, more students today are graduating from high school and going to college.
For all of us at Education Post, where Ann oversaw policy for the last nine months, her return to Washington is a mixed blessing. We gain a hardworking, brilliant friend in the administration but we lose an inspiring, dedicated colleague whose careful and thoughtful insights were reflected in our work every single day.
We offer Ann our deepest congratulations. We share our greatest confidence that she will continue to challenge herself, others around her and those she serves all across the country to meet the highest expectations. Above all, we offer our thanks to Ann for once again answering the call to serve.