Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Arne Duncan Doesn't Seem To Understand He Is Part Of The Problem

NY Times has a conversation about schools and education reform with Arne Duncan, Mitch Daniels and John Engler.

Duncan is asked has the reform movement learned anything from mistakes made.

He ignores his own policy decisions over the last five years and points the finger right at the Bush administration:

Duncan: A huge thing: No Child Left Behind was very well-intentioned. It did lots of things to spotlight the achievement gap. What it didn’t get was the need for high standards. What actually happened, which is really, really insidious, is that you had almost 20 states, in reaction to the law, dummy-down their standards and lower their standards.

The worst thing that I think can happen to kids and families, and particularly disadvantaged communities, is that people expect less of them, to make politicians look good. What I think the reform movement got wrong fundamentally is it was very loose on goals but very tight on how to get there.

I just fundamentally believe in a different theory of change. I believe in being tight on goals – having a very high bar – and loose on how to get there. We should give people a lot more room and flexibility to create and to be innovative. 
I think that the reform movement got that wrong in a big way. Not from lack of good intent. And I think that was big. It hurt the country in a way that we’re working hard to correct.

See - he's just trying to fix the problems he was saddled with from NCLB when he got here.

He didn't cause any of this with RttT or his NCLB waivers that mandate all sorts of things he doesn't have the power to mandate or by pushing Common Core so heavily that it was inevitable he would create a backlash or by bypassing states and making waiver deals with districts and crystallizing what federal overreach looks like in one fell swoop.

But he doesn't see any of this

Nope - the not problems in education today, in the U.S., in his old district in Chicago - his fault.

Except, you know, some of them are.

Here is how one DC insider described Arne Duncan's performance:

“Arne Duncan has so mangled federal education at this point that it’s going to take a new

administration and secretary to reframe the debate and offer a path forward.”

Maybe one day Arne Duncan will have a "Come to Jesus" moment and realize the damage he has done to schools, students teachers, and public education.

I'm skeptical about that because he doesn't really seem like the kind of guy capable of self-reflection or mid-course adjustment.


  1. As a ventiloquist's dummy, it would be quite a surprise if Duncan understood anything.

    1. Yeah, the sporty face of ed deform, doing is "Aw, shucks" routine on Morning Joe. But that routine is wearing thin for all but the most Kool Aidy of deformers.

  2. Duncan is a mental midget who fancies himself as some kind of national superintendent of education. In fact, he ought to be impeached and removed from office because of his abuse of power.

    1. I agree - especially over the NCLB waivers. Impeached and jailed.