Two and a half weeks into the Obama Administration and I've already chosen by favorite cabinet member -- of all time. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. A slam dunk. Literally.
But what gives? Where is he? If you're high up in government and pay your taxes on time are you completely ignored? Do you become invisible?
You see I teach public school in LA and shoot hoops every Sunday with the same guys I've been playing ball with since Reagan was in office.
And I'm on fire. With hope.
I'm so excited about Secretary Duncan, who played b-ball at Harvard, that I'm ready to take down my classroom poster of LeBron slapping his palms together and creating a talcum bomb at mid-court and replacing it with a poster of the first cabinet member in our nation's history who can knock down a medium-range jump shot and can drive to the rack and dime it off to a teammate who's wide open behind the three-point line.
I've done my homework. I've memorized Arne's stats:
Harvard University -- magna cum laude
NCAA Academic All-American -- first team
Professional basketball player 1987 -- 1991 Australia (okay, it's not the NBA, but it counts)
CEO of the Chicago Public Schools
Childhood friend of R. Kelly (how's that for street cred?)
Secretary Duncan's got superstar, heck superhero, potential.
Except that I can't find one thing that he's accomplished since he's been sworn into office. Okay, sure, he's appointed some Assistant Secretaries of Education and he probably got his fax up and working. But I want mandates, edicts. Give me something to take back to my classroom. If not new rules and regulations, how about a few snappy sports-oriented metaphors to inspire my students? Throw me a Pell Grant or two. Something.
Excuse me for being ridiculously over-eager. But Secretary Duncan has the right stuff to make huge and positive changes in the lives of our public school children. He did it in Chicago and I want him to repeat those successes across our nation. He's truly a scholar-athlete and a future role model to millions of kids.
I mean, Arne Duncan's like Bill Bradley had Bradley stayed in shape after he retired from the Knicks and went to the Senate. And I don't think politicians come much better than that.
When the Obamas read to the second graders at Capital City Public Charter School this past Wednesday, why didn't they schlep Secretary Duncan along to maybe diagram some sentences and then take the kids out to the playground and give a seminar on how to throw the behind-the-back pass?
Secretary Duncan is a game changer waiting to happen. And our public schools desperately need him to get started.
So please, please, President Obama. Look down the bench. Call Arne's number. Put him in the game and tell him to take charge.
We teachers are hungry for change. We need Secretary Duncan. Now.