The next New York City mayor will take control of the nation’s largest school system. But don’t look to the U.S. Secretary of Education for guidance on which candidate would be best for the city’s 1.1 million public schoolchildren.
“I haven’t followed it that closely,” Secretary Arne Duncan said of the mayor’s race in an interview Tuesday.
Duncan famously said that his tenure at the USDOE will have been a failure if there aren't more cities and districts under mayoral control after he leaves his seat of power than before he took it.
You see, Duncan is not a big believer in democracy.
Rather he is a big believer in autocratic mayoral control in which one man or woman (but mostly a man) gets to push through whatever the hell they want no matter how people in the community feel about these actions and policies and without any recourse for anybody to do anything about it.
Duncan very much likes the way autocrat Mike Bloomberg has run his school system, shoving through as many disruptive changes and administering as much shock and awe as possible to the system in his 12 years in power.
De Blasio's win in the Democratic primary is seen as a rejection of that Bloomberg education reform platform:
Some have said that the election of Mr. de Blasio was a repudiation of Mr. Bloomberg’s education-reform policies, which include using test scores to measure students, teachers and schools, and embracing competition among schools.
You can bet that Duncan was watching this election closely and hoping for a Christine Quinn win.
You can also bet that if de Blasio follows through on a charter school moratorium, a relaxation of the Bloomberg fixation on testing, and the other progressive education policies he ran on during the primary, Duncan will be very sad and will work to undercut de Blasio from Washington.
Arne Duncan is that kinda guy.
He likes his corporate ed deform policies - charter school expansion, school closures, teacher firings, Endless Testing, and teacher evaluations tied to test scores - and anybody who tries to put a stop to even one of those tenets of the education reform doctrine will get pushback from Arne and his USDOE.
Witness how Duncan is taking on California for putting a stop to their state testing program while they implement the Common Core tests.
In the end, no matter what de Blasio wants to implement here in NYC, much ed deform pressure is going to come from Andy Cuomo, John King, Barack Obama and Arne Duncan to make sure that the nation's largest school system does not turn from the education deform policies that have been instituted by the powers that be during the Bloomberg years.
De Blasio will have his work cut out for him if he truly intends to turn the clock back on the destructive Bloomberg/Klein/Bush/Obama/Duncan/Cuomo/King/Tisch education deform policies.