Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Duncan's Race To The Top that should have been indicted

When the Atlanta test cheating scandal broke two years ago, Arne Duncan pooh-poohed it. He started out saying how "stunned" he was and then called it an "isolated" problem. 
"I think this is very isolated," Duncan said. "In Baltimore, there's two schools and they dealt with it. This (Atlanta) is an easy one to fix, with better test security.
Isolated? An easy one to fix?

Today AJC reports:
 Former Atlanta Public School Superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 others were indicted Friday indictment on charges of racketeering, theft by taking, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and false statements in connection with the cheating scnadall that has dogged Atlanta Public Schools for years.
How isolated is the Atlanta cheating scandal? According to a FairTest's press release we received this morning, cheating is widespread --in 37 States And D.C. to be exact. FairTest has the list.

Of course this scandal is really just a symptom of a much larger problem and Duncan bares as much responsibility for it than the 35 who were indicted. It's his test-crazy Race To The Top, a continuation of No Child Left Behind that is behind the cheating wildfire. And his initial response, downplaying the scandal, was in a way a cover-up.

Next question -- is Michelle Rhee and her former team in D.C. next?


  1. Is Rhee next?

    That's an easy one to answer - no way the Obama DOJ goes after her, no way the Obama DOE goes after her, no way local D.C. authorities go after her.

    Sure USA Today, Jay Matthews and some bloggers have gone after her (and done a great job exposing her as a sham and a fraud.)

    But the powers that be will NOT allow their poster hero/"warrior woman" (in Oprah's words) to be tarnished or taken down.

    You'll note that when Rhee did her book tour, no one asked her about the cheating scandal and the cover-up - not even Jon Stewart of Bill Maher.

    And those were probably you're likeliest bets to give Rhee a grilling - there's no way NPR, MSNBC, CNN, FOX or Good Morning America is going to do that.

    No, she skates clean away.

  2. I have read, however, that she has been lawyering up (Reid Weingarten, I believe--a top attorney).
    Why? Sure hope she IS being investigated, and will come to be indicted, as well.
    If not for D.C. testing scandal, then for fraud.

  3. This is what comes of having yet another president who has never attended a public school as a student appointing a Sec. of Ed. who has a similar record, both the products of elite private schools who an select "the best and brightest". That as well as being jocks who figure they've had no problem with racing to the top, having been given a push unavailable to the overwhelming majority of people.

    The elite educational institutions are the problem, their record of producing elitism is clear. I'm hoping for a president and appointees who have had some experience of public schools in their past. I'm pretty much over people who see the world through ivy covered glasses.

  4. Don't forget Eli Broad.

  5. To slow Rhee's momentum it'll have to be an investigation as solid as Atlanta's. I don't see that in the near future. Meanwhile, Rhee's got California in her sights next, recently hiring a smart teachers' union turncoat as an advisor. Duncan's DOE just approved CORE's Race to the Top waiver and that means some kind of value added measures for teacher evaluation, and test score targets for site administrators, are on the horizon for all 10 California urban districts.

    To steal a line from tomorrow night's HBO series, "Winter is coming."

  6. Winerip's Times article shows clearly the reasons for the scandal.

    Teachers and principals whose students had high test scores received tenure and thousands of dollars in performance bonuses. Otherwise, as one teacher explained, it was “low score out the door.”

  7. Almost right, Mike, not Duncan's "Race to the Top that should have been indicted," but the man himself.

  8. Those indicted may be guilty and deserve prison, but let's be clear about why this investigation became such a burning cause for our ethically-challenged right-wing governor and his right-wing special prosecutors: They saw this as an opportunity to strike a blow against 1) public education; 2) Atlanta black political power; 3) teachers' unions. Never before in his political career has the governor or his henchmen so much as lifted a finger to improve the lives of black children because in reality they don't give a good goddamn about black children.

  9. In this age, there are only two relevant questions, succinctly expressed by the new St. Francis: Do we care about, and for, one another, and do we care about, and for, the Earth and all its creatures?


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.