I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We are continuing TELL ME MORE's first Twitter Education Forum. Join in on Twitter at hash tag NPREdChat. Coming up, we'll hear the voices of people you could argue have the most invested in America's schools, the students, but first, we turn to online education. If you or your child have ever been stumped by homework, then you probably already know about the Kahn Academy.
Now we turn to the former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. She served under President George W. Bush. She's now the founder and leader of Margaret Spellings and Company. That's a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area. Madam Secretary, welcome to you. Thank you so much for joining us.
MARGARET SPELLINGS: Glad to be here, Michel. I'm sorry I'm not seeing you face to face. Hurry back.
Our next guest spent years allied with key conservatives on education reform. Diane Ravitch is the former assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush. During her time in that administration and afterwards, she advocated standardized testing and expanding school choice through charter schools. Those would later become key elements of No Child Left Behind under President George W. Bush, but she eventually became a critic of these approaches.
"Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable," economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, dictators have been toppled and new leaders have begun to emerge. Islamists, once marginalized, have been voted into power. Which leadership scenario is better?
The argument for dictators is that a number have been reliable allies for the United States. But under their rule, dictators use repressive means to squash opposition and stay in power.