Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Did Arne Duncan's attack on suburban parents help Trump win the election?

Arne Duncan at Boston DFER meeting supporting unfettered charter expansion. MA voters disagreed and defeated Question#2 and Trump in the process. 
It was back in 2013 parent protests against Common Core testing were bubbling up around the country and the opt-out movement was moving ahead full-steam.

Instead of uniting with or at least trying to understand parent/teacher discontent with testing madness, former Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan, representing Pres. Obama, lashed out at what he called, "White suburban moms’ upset that Common Core shows their kids aren’t ‘brilliant’".

At anther appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, Duncan claimed that opposition to the Common Core testing had been fueled by “political silliness.” He told a convention of newspaper editors that his critics were misinformed at best and laboring under paranoid delusions at worst.

Aside from being a terribly misleading statement -- tens of thousands of urban parents, black, white and Latino joined the opt-out movement -- it was an insulting sting, not only for parents, but their children, that left a permanent mark. 

As a parent and grandparent of public school students, in a city like Chicago, where Duncan once ruled the education roost, I can tell you that calling parents "paranoid" and "delusional" is probably not the best way to win an election for your party. 

Did Duncan's disdain for white suburban parents have an impact last week's election results and the Democrat's failure to pull votes from suburban districts that went for Obama in '08 and 2012? Especially in the swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. 

It's hard to document that right now. 

But we do know... Duncan, who in the past has been on the stump for Democrat corporate-reform Democrats, was kept well-hidden during the Clinton campaign. Not only were the words, "Race To The Top" never once mentioned by Hillary and the Dems, issues confronting public education, which are of prime importance to parents, were consciously left out of the policy debates with the Republicans.

We also know that the Democratic Party's education platform, adopted by the delegates at the convention, was in many ways, a repudiation of Duncan's "reform" agenda. But those platform points never made their way into any of Hillary's campaign speeches.

Last point on this... In Massachusetts, where education issues were made a centerpiece of the campaign and where leading Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh opposed Duncan-supported unfettered charter expansion, the Democrats defeated the charter expansion bill and Trump, handily. 


  1. Oh, Arne, just what would we do w/o you? Did any of you read that puff-piece ("Can Arne Save Chicago?") in the November Chicago Magazine?
    (If not, you really should.)
    In the last paragraph (for dramatic effect), he is described as sitting & crying (about all the Chicago children he is trying to save).

    He's made LOTS of children (& parents & educators)cry--& not just in Chicago, but all over America. Thanks, Arne.

  2. Brilliant - I really like the idea of blaming Arne for Trump! It was quite satisfying to steamroll Question 2 here in MA just after the Duncster DFER appearance.

  3. Brilliant. The D's utter failure to accept any responsibility for destroying the Democratic Party in flyover states is the reason Podesta, et al., need to go.


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