On Thursday last, the Connecticut State Board of Education named a new Commissioner of Education: Mark K. McQuillan, the former deputy commissioner and chief operational officer for the Massachusetts Department of Education. Slated to begin work on April 16th, his stated priorities are closing the achievement gaps between wealthy & poor districts, establishing universal preschool education, and supporting Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in his effort to challenge some of the provisions of No Child Left Behind (namely testing schedules and the lack of funding).
As a self-professed “conservative” homeschooler who, happily, enjoys great freedom in choosing curriculum, establishing an annual school schedule, and deciding when, where, and how to test my daughter, I look upon the selection of Mr. McQuillan with trepidation. Being educated at such “liberal” institutions as the University of California-Berkeley and Harvard, I expect him to favor policies such as a lower age of compulsory school attendance, school district approval of homeschool curriculum, and mandatory achievement testing, all concepts with which I disagree. Whether Mr. McQuillan will actually propose these policies remains to be seen. One thing is certain, whatever direction he chooses for the Connecticut Department of Education, as a homeschooler, I need to monitor the situation closely.
Educator Chosen to Head Agency
Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.