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Few Policy Details in Duncan Speech

Like many of you, I just finished watching Education Secretary Arne Duncan's Teachers College speech. We'll have more reaction for you later, but just to make a general point, few new policy tidbits emerged, even during the Q & A.

The genial, if always on-message Duncan didn't really say much we haven't heard before. About the third time he began answering a question with the line, "We have $10 billion in discretionary funds at our disposal," the audience started giggling.

(You've got to hand it to Margaret Spellings. As EdSec, she was ever-quotable, with her talk of Ivory soap and big-girl panties.)

I was particularly intrigued by a question from one audience member, who wanted to know whether the administration would support "incorporating a multisensory phonics-based reading program" into teacher training.

An interesting question, now that funding previously earmarked for Reading First apparently will be shifted to Title I. But Duncan didn't bite. "We're going to look to those places that are getting great results for students," he said.

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