Category Archives: Arne Duncan

November 28, 2012, 5:00 pm

AFT Prez Randi Weingarten, Russian Prez Vladimir Putin — What’s the Difference?

Please to keep your clothes on, Arne. Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin, AP

Why should do-nuthin’ Secretary of Education Arne Duncan be the next Secretary of State?  According to Thomas Friedman in today’s New York Times,

…anyone who has negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union, as Duncan did when he was superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools before going to Washington, would find negotiating with the Russians and Chinese a day at the beach. A big part of being secretary of education (and secretary of state) is getting allies and adversaries to agree on things they normally wouldn’t — and making them think that it was all their idea. Trust me, if you can cut such deals with Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, you can do them with Vladimir Putin and Bibi…

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January 27, 2012, 12:18 pm

What a Real Education Policy Would Look Like

Photo Credit: Associated Press

I have repeatedly complained in this blog that the Obama administration has no education policy. Part of what is horrible about the Republican presidential field turning into a political version of  the Human Centipede is that Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Democratic party will not be challenged on four years of education non-policy. They are operating under No Child Left Behind with a policy nip here and an administrative tuck there. And now they want to extend this non-policy to higher education. (more…)

October 24, 2011, 10:48 am

How Does Occupy Wall Street Speak To A Broken Education System? A Manifesto

Today’s lesson is: thanks to the absence of leadership from the political class; the failure to nurture an empowering dialogue between high school and college teachers that might have a broad impact on education policy; the domination of university Boards of Trustees by the 1%; and Wall Street’s destructive attempts to transform education into a tradable commodity, educators are increasingly drawn to the Occupy Wall Street movement.   There could not be more chaos in the education world than there is now. It is a world in which school reform = a takeover of public schools by profit seekers, or by philanthropies that funnel tax-free corporate profits into shaping the world that corporations want. Hence, contemporary activism creates an unprecedented opportunity for progressive change in education.  Let us observe the impact that Occupy Wall Street is having on national political culture…

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September 19, 2010, 1:07 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: Back to Skool Edition

Is Michelle Rhee Going Down? Kendra Marr at Politico.com reviews what everyone in education reform, that eclectic field that contains many political positions (most of which revolve around high-stakes testing rather than education or reform) was talking about last week: Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty’s primary loss may mean that Michelle Rhee is out of a job. Fenty, courageously in the minds of many, tied his career to the fate of the District’s schools — and lost, in a resounding smack down for Rhee’s take-no-prisoners approach. “Fenty’s defeat this week — due in no small part to community and teachers union resistance to his education push,” Marr writes, “is emerging as a cautionary tale for education reformers, who fear that it could cause others to back away from aggressive reform programs swept into the mainstream by President Barack Obama’s `Race to the Top.’”…

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January 23, 2009, 4:05 pm

Barack Is (Not) Responsible For Making All Things Good: The Radical Disputes The Proposal That There Is An “Obama Effect” On Education

Much as I would like Barack Obama to sprinkle magic dust all over the country, fixing racism, poverty, and absolutely everything we hated about the Bushies, each policy question will have to be tackled thoughtfully, one by one. Today’s topic is the national education agenda.

A crucial issue here is the continuing mania for using public school children as a vast pool of customers for corporations specializing in both mass curriculum distribution and in the endless testing through which students — on pain of humiliation, summer school, and being held back a grade — are asked to regurgitate these educational products. (I use the phrase “educational products” consciously: currently, a standard curriculum in the United States is to education what Cheez Whiz is to cheese.) The sad backstory of test scores going up in any given school are the number of students who drop out, or are…

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