Mr. Duncan did well to promote charter schools
and high standards. His Race to the Top initiative used federal
dollars to catalyze reform in the states, especially by encouraging
them to hold teachers accountable for student performance.

Yet such progress was overshadowed by his unwillingness to fully take on the union-backed status quo….The nation’s first
African-American President had unique standing and moral capital to remake the politics of education. Mr. Obama might have united reformers on the right and left into a movement that empowered parents to choose the best school for their children regardless of their location or income. It might have been a unifying issue and a great legacy.

“But he opted for tepid, and now his main K-12 legacy will be having presided over the unwinding of President George W. Bush’s bipartisan No Child Left Behind reform. We were no fans of that law, but at least it elevated higher standards and performance measurement regardless of background. Those principles are now under assault by unions on the  left and populists on the right.

(from the Wall Street Journal, quoted by Diane Ravitch)