In an email I received this morning, Ritsch says the quote should have been attributed, both by me and WaPo's Valerie Strauss, to Ritsch's current boss, Arne Duncan. Since I got the quote from Valerie's Answer Sheet column, I will gladly set the record straight on that.
Yes, it was Duncan who made that ridiculous statement about Kopp -- not Ritsch.
Ritsch also denies that in his new position he will, as I claim, “help TFA keep the cash pipeline open and flowing.” That's hard for me to believe, but I will take him at his word on that as well.
Here's Ritsch's email in full:
In your post about my new position at Teach For America, you misattribute a quote from Secretary Duncan re: Wendy Kopp as having come from me. Please correct the attribution to reflect that, in fact, Secretary Duncan made the statement below:
“I don’t think anyone in the country has done more over the past 15 to 20 years than Wendy Kopp to identify the talents and characteristics that lead to great teaching”
I have asked Valerie Strauss to clarify the quote’s source in her post.
As part of my responsibilities at Teach For America, I will be overseeing the organization’s research and evaluation work, which includes many partnerships with academics who take an interest in TFA’s corps members and the thousands of alumni who continue to work in education long after their initial service. Under Wendy Kopp’s leadership, and now under the leadership of Elisa Villanueva Beard and Matt Kramer, TFA has worked over the last two decades to understand the personal qualities, skills and supports that contribute to great teaching. TFA has made an important contribution to everyone’s understanding of an essential question in education.
My responsibilities at Teach For America will not include managing the grants that the organization has competed successfully for or TFA’s relationship with the Department of Education, so the implication in your post that I will “help TFA keep the cash pipeline open and flowing” is not accurate.
Thanks for correcting your post accordingly.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach
U.S. Department of Education