Michael Bennet, the former Denver public schools chief turned U.S. senator, received hugs yesterday from teachers as he toured a local school with the nation’s education secretary, Arne Duncan. Duncan (pictured) dared about 400 students to boo him when he said, “I think schools should be open six, seven days a week; eleven, twelve months a year.” Instead, Duncan drew a room full of bored stares, according to The Associated Press. Bennet, the Democrat who came up with a plan to reward teachers for good performance, invited Duncan to Denver himself. Bennet says more change is needed, particularly in urban school districts, and that he’s miring himself in the conversation as the state prepares to apply for a share of $5 billion in education stimulus grants. A political newbie, Bennet, by the way, is facing an election in 2010. It appears he’ll be a lot tougher to unseat than both Republicans and Democrats initially thought, according to 5280. One possible reason: He’s not a predictable Dem, as illustrated during a recent meeting in Fort Collins, where party loyalists fretted over the whole “conservadem” thing, according to the Coloradoan.