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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Arne Duncan, the problem with education is people who have a problem with my policies.

Make no mistake Arne Duncan’s high stakes testing, blame the teacher, privatization agenda is a disaster. I don’t know if it is hubris, or ignorance but this man who was never a teacher reached a new zenith recently and blamed the problems in education on the people who have a problem with them and he did this while making poverty an excuse instead of the number one measurable factor in education. Those students that live in poverty as a group do a lot worse than those that don’t.

From his speech to the national press core: Inhabiting this [Washington] bubble are some armchair pundits who insist that our efforts to improve public education are doomed to fail—either because they believe government is incapable of meaningfully improving education, or because they think education reform can’t possibly work since the real problem with schools is that so many children are poor.

As an armchair pundit and a long time teacher, again something Duncan never was, I believe government can improve education, it can provide resources and do research into what works and what doesn’t; I just don’t believe this government can meaningfully improve education. The things they have tried which are basically a continuation of the Bush policies have failed and I don’t understand why a decade of failure is acceptable to him or them.

And yeah, we can’t ignore continue to ignore poverty and hope to have success. And not the real problem with schools is not that so many children are poor it is that we refuse to put in place meaningful policies that will mitigate poverty.

Things like a longer school year, social workers and mental health counselors, smaller classes, more classes that play to their strengths and desires and an end to the reliance on high stakes testing that sucks the joy of learning out of school for so many.  If we do those things Mr. Duncan, Mr. Worse secretary of education in the nation’s history then we can turn this around. By we though, I don’t mean you. You have done a lot of damage and that will be your legacy.

If you can stomach it, his speech is below:

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