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Duncan's Communications Hire

So a Chicago Tribune blog is reporting that Peter Cunningham has been hired to run the communications operation for Secretary of Education-designate Arne Duncan. Apparently, the strategic consultant who currently works for Duncan in the Chicago school system is quite the musician.

The Tribune blog isn't specific about what position at the Department of Education Cunningham will be taking, but with experience as a communications consultant, my guess is he'll be shaping strategy, not fielding e-mails from reporters.

If that's the case, that sounds to me like more or less the role that Lauren Maddox, the assistant secretary for communications and outreach, has right now. Over the past few years, the department has capitalized on Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings' folksy, friendly personality. She's let her Texas show in nearly ever speech she's given. And, in the past year, the department has sent her around the country to hold events on the No Child Left Behind Act to help garner public support, and local media coverage, for the school improvement law.

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