Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Duncan's unsolicited confession: He's choking education.

EPIPHANY...Arne Duncan has been talking with lots of teachers, principals and other educators, he claims, and has had an aha! moment. In his blog post, he offers this unsolicited confession:
"I believe testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools – oxygen that is needed for a healthy transition to higher standards, improved systems for data, better aligned assessments, teacher professional development, evaluation and support, and more."
Duncan, the biggest oxygen sucker of them all, then allows a one-year reprieve on test-based teacher ratings. Thank you, Lord Duncan. I'm sure a year from now, the oxygen will be back.

What Duncan refuses to recognize is that his Race To The Top/Common Core testing regimen is also sucking wind when it comes to equity in the schools. Even with a one-year reprieve on federal test-based teacher ratings (will school districts follow suit?), dramatic cuts in funding will still leave poor, inner-city schools and districts at a disadvantage. Take Philadelphia, for example.With an $81 million budget gap, Philly schools are opening minus hundreds of classroom teachers, social workers, and librarians. Students are sitting in uncleaned classrooms. Sports and after-school programs are being decimated. Unlimited expansion of the city's privately-run charter schools is another oxygen sucker.

A year's reprieve on testing won't change any of that. A year from now, the gap will be a year wider, no matter how you measure it. Civil rights is still the civil rights issue of our generation.


  1. Check out
    Arne Duncan Declares Victory in War on Schools and Teachers – Alan’s Latest Huffington Post

  2. A commenter on Diane Ravitch's blog wrote that Arne's seeming "about face" is nothing but "balderdash," replying to another commenter who actually wrote that, perhaps, Arne has been questioning his views and considering them, thus being thoughtful &, perhaps, making a turnaround. Yeah--and the Cubs will win the pennant next year!
    As someone else later commented, "'Balderdash' is too mild a term for what comes out of Arne's mouth!"


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