Although Education Secretary Arne Duncan couldn't attend MSNBC's Education Nation event in person due to the shutdown, he was on hand via satellite to deliver tried-and-true talking points about the flaws of No Child Left Behind and the merits of college- and career-ready standards.
NCLB's "laser-like focus on a single test score led to all kinds of perverse incentives," Duncan said, but the law overlooked other measures such as school dropout rates and whether students are going to college and persevering.
He also said that he loves the commitment across the country to higher academic standards.
"Raising standards is the easy part. Implementing them is the hard part," Duncan said.
He noted his offer of flexibility to states that have committed to new standards and committed to tying teacher evaluations to test scores from tests based on the new standards.
Duncan said his decision on the flexibility option was based on talking to teachers who, he said, are hugely excited about raising the bar but also fearful about being judged so soon on how their students perform.
OK, so let me get this straight - NCLB was a problem because it focused on just a single test score that then led to all kinds of perverse incentives.
But now things are better that they've added all kinds of other tests and added even more peverse incentives like, you know, firing teachers if those scores don't show "added value"?
And this flexibility thing - why doesn't some media shill call him on this?
It is the opposite of flxibility when you force states to add all kinds of new tests tied to the Common Core standards and force them to evaluate teachers using test scores from these tests.
Duncan has threatened California for putting a moratorium on testing for high stakes until the new Common Core tests are ready.
He has threatened three states with NCLB sanctions if they do not add teacher evaluation systems based upon test scores.
Tell me exactly what is "flexible" about any of this?
This is federal overreach, this is Arne Duncan saying you will run your school systems the way I (or actually my owners, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg et al.) want them run or I will destroy you.
How do the "journalists" at NBC and MSNBC not see these contradictions and call him on them?
Are they ignorant, willfully blind or simply on the take?
Duncan's talking points are completely incoherent and even a middle school journalist could take these apart like Edward R. Murrow taking down McCarthy.
And yet, the journalists at MSNBC and NBC let him drone on like what he's saying makes sense...