Valerie Strauss has a good column introducing you to the new Acting Secretary of Education John King. Why will he be “acting”? Apparently there is some concern that, in light of his controversial tenure as state commissioner in New York, he might not be confirmed. Maybe busloads of angry parents will arrive from New York to testify against him. Whatever.


As you will see, John King as an impressive resumé. He earned both a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate from Teachers College at the same time! The resumé doesn’t mention that King was one of the leaders of the Uncommon Schools network, which is an unusually harsh “no-excuses” charter chain. Not long ago, his school had the highest suspension rate in the state of Massachusetts.


You will also read that he managed to alienate many parents in New York and was probably the spark plug for the Opt Out movement. He and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch set up a series of public hearings around the state. Parents showed up in large numbers, and King lectured them almost to the point of hectoring. After one of the stormiest hearings, he stormed out and called parents a “special interest group.”


Like Duncan, he is a fervent believer in high-stakes testing and the Common Core standards. His own children attended a Montessori school when he lived in New York, where there is neither high-stakes testing or the CCSS.


He is a quintessential reformer.