Monday, September 9, 2013

Duncan pleads ignorance on Justice Dept. civil rights suit against La. school vouchers

Louisiana school deseg suit? He claims he never heard of it. 
Arne Duncan came close to channeling the old-line southern segregationists last week, by publicly opposing so-called, "forced racial integration."  That was bad enough. But it also brought back horrifying memories of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, when Duncan called the devastating storm that killed thousands and displaced thousands more, “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans.” 

What had enamored him with the storm was that by laying to waste the city's public education system, Katrina opened the door for Duncan's mentor Paul Vallas to crush the teachers union, fire every teacher in the district, and implant a system of privately-run charter schools. Post-Katrina New Orleans under Bush, would soon become the model for "reforming" school districts like Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

Duncan would later apologize for the transparency of his Katrina outburst. I know that there are some in his camp who are counseling him to "clarify" his forced integration statement, even as I write this. But Duncan said something else in that same radio interview which all the king's horses and men will not be able to put back together again.

Holder goes after La. resegregation. Arne pleads ignorance. 
When asked about the Justice Department's recent lawsuit to block Louisiana's school voucher program, Duncan pleaded ignorance. "I'm not familiar with that lawsuit," he told radio host Diane Rhem. "That's between the Department of Justice and the state of Louisiana."


According to the lawsuit, filed two weeks ago by the Justice Dept., vouchers "appeared to impede the desegregation process" in Louisiana.

Was Duncan really as ignorant as he sounded? Of course not. But he just couldn't very well come out in opposition to "forced integration" in one breath and then support Eric Holder's legal assault on Gov. Bobby Jindal's re-segregation juggernaut, in the other. So the Secretary did the next best thing. He pleaded ignorance.

But that didn't go far enough for disappointed conservative pro-voucher and segregationist Duncan allies who expected at least a tepid statement of support. A Wall Street Journal editorial, which called Duncan "one of the better" of Obama's cabinet members, came close to calling for his ouster.
But if he really did first hear about the Louisiana lawsuit from a reporter, then maybe it's time he returned to Chicago. He's clearly not interested in his job anymore. 
Rupert Murdoch's boys at WSJ were really upset when they learned that former Justice Department Civil Rights chief Thomas Perez, who is now Labor Secretary, was "nosing around" the state of Louisiana earlier this year.
If Mr. Perez is now also running education policy, it really is time for Mr. Duncan to leave.
I would say, it's time for Duncan to leave precisely because HE IS running education policy. But not back to Chicago, please. We've had enough.

1 comment:

  1. I still haven't been able to get over his 'voluntary integration' statement. Duncan should resign and go to work for Bill Gates at Microsoft or Rupert Murdoch. That's where he'll feel most at home.


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