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Jo Anderson, Senior Adviser to the Secretary Jo Anderson, Senior Adviser to the Secretary

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Education Department

Jo Anderson, Senior Adviser to the Secretary

Here are two fun facts about Anderson: He has a master's degree in "social thought," and he bills himself as a "Chicago Cubs fan and still an optimist." Just what you'd expect from a onetime philosophy professor who has spent much of his career attempting to improve the education system. Anderson has logged 30 years with a variety of education groups, including the National Education Association in Chicago. In 1987, he helped found the Consortium for Educational Change, a network of 75 school districts in Illinois working on school transformation through collaborative partnerships, where he was executive director for 18 years. His job now is to work hand in glove with Arne Duncan. Anderson, 68, has been given special responsibility for dealing with both national teachers unions, an important and delicate job, as Duncan has been unrelenting in his quest for better teacher-evaluation systems. Duncan has also suggested that better teachers should get paid more, a statement that would seem like fighting words to unions if it came from, say, a Republican. Anderson's goal is to "transform the teaching profession" by working with unions instead of against them. The Education Department has engaged in several outreach efforts with union locals to try to come to agreement on how teachers should be treated, much Anderson's consortium in Illinois did. Anderson earned his undergraduate degree from Boston College and his master's from the University of Chicago.

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