News Release

Obama Nominees: * Education * Agriculture

President-elect Obama is nominating Chicago public school CEO Arne Duncan to be secretary of education and Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, to be secretary of agriculture.

Chair of the department of educational policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Kumashiro said today: “Under Duncan’s leadership, public education in Chicago is being dismantled. Chicago Public Schools are not a model for the nation, and Duncan is the wrong choice to reverse the problems of NCLB [No Child Left Behind] and to improve education for all of our nation’s youth.” Kumashiro’s books include The Seduction of Common Sense: How the Right Has Framed the Debate on America’s Schools.
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Lipman is professor of policy studies at the College of Education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her books include High Stakes Education: Inequality, Globalization, and Urban School Reform.

Research biologist at the Global Justice Ecology Project, Smolker said today: “Vilsack’s appointment is tremendously disappointing to those of us working to oppose ‘agrofuels.’ He has been a staunch proponent of corn and soy based fuels even as over a billion people are starving and mountains of evidence have demonstrated that turning plant matter, (edible or not) into fuel contributes to climate change and ecosystem degradation. Vilsack, darling of Monsanto and the biotechnology industry’s ‘governor of the year,’ will attempt to pave the way for a massive upscale of industrial agriculture and biotechnology under the guise of ‘renewable energy.'”

See for background:

From the Institute for Public Accuracy: “Food Crisis and Biofuels

From the British Guardian: “Nearly a billion people worldwide are starving, UN agency warns

From the Organic Consumers Association: “Six Reasons Why Obama Appointing Monsanto’s Buddy, Former Iowa Governor Vilsack, for USDA Head Would be a Terrible Idea

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167