01/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Freakonomics ' Levitt Praises Obama Education Choice

Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, offers Arne Duncan, President-Elect Barack Obama's pick for Secretary of Education, his endorsement this morning on the New York Times Freakonomics blog. Duncan assisted Levitt on the original Freakonomics book, and their interactions left Levitt convinced of Duncan's fair-mindedness and commitment to reform:

Freakonomics readers will remember Arne as the hero of our chapter on teacher cheating. He was head of the Chicago Public Schools when Brian Jacob and I were investigating how teachers and administrators were doctoring standardized test sheets.

With seemingly nothing to gain and much to lose, Arne embraced our results, even allowing us to do audit testing to confirm our hypotheses. Eventually, a handful of teachers were fired.

Levitt goes on to say, "If you wanted to start from scratch and build a public servant, Arne would be the end product."

He also points out that Duncan is another Obama pick with a basketball past. Duncan was co-captain of the Harvard basketball team and played professionally in Australia. Along with General James Jones, Tim Geithner, Susan Rice, and Eric Holder, it appears that Obama's hoops team now has a bench.