Friday, December 12, 2008


Arne's biggest fan

Margaret Spellings rolled into Chicago yesterday, to endorse Arne Duncan as her successor. While George Bush called himself, "The Decider," Spellings simply wants to be remembered as “the practical implementer of the law” (NCLB). Whatever has she been smoking? Spellings would do well do get out of town and back to Texas soon after Jan. 20th before the law catches up with her.

Clout Street says:
Duncan, who appeared embarrassed as he stood along side Spellings, downplayed her comments and continued to refuse to say whether he is interested in the job if Obama offers it to him.

I’m quoted in Alfie Kohn’s upcoming Nation piece, “Beware of the School Reformers.” Alfie needed a succinct summary of Arne Duncan’s Renaissance 2010 initiative. So I gave him one:

Just as the test-crazy nightmare of Paige’s Houston served as a national model (when it should have been a cautionary tale) in 2001, so Duncan would bring to Washington an agenda based on “Renaissance 2010,” which Chicago education activist Michael Klonsky describes as a blend of “more standardized testing, closing neighborhood schools, militarization, and the privatization of school management.”

Did I leave anything out?

Religion Dept.

Dan Terkell, Studs’ son, changed the spelling of his surname during the McCarthy era when Studs “never met a petition he didn’t like.” At last week’s N.Y. tribute to Studs, Dan says, referring to Wisconsin’s fascist Senator Joe McCarthy:

“I honestly don’t know whether there is a heaven or hell. But I would guess that tail Gunner Joe and my father are not in the same place.”

Michelle Rhee, D. C. schools chancellor, in The Atlantic

"As a teacher in this system, you have to be willing to take personal responsibility for ensuring your children are successful despite obstacles. You can’t say, 'My students didn't get any breakfast today,' or No one put them to bed last night,' or 'Their electricity got cut off in the house, so they couldn’t do their homework.'"

You can’t?

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