Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why I Want Arne Duncan And John King To Remain In Power

The NEA has called for Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan's ouster.

The AFT put him on some kind of improvement plan (a lame way of saying they were calling for his ouster without actually calling for his ouster.)

Many rank-and-file teachers across the country have called for Duncan to step down or be fired.

But you know who hasn't called for Duncan's firing?

The functionaries on the corporate deform side.

And really, given how badly Duncan has screwed up their corporate deform plans, they REALLY ought to be calling for his ouster.

Here's Karen Klein, a supporter of the Common Core, taking it to Duncan in the LA Times:

The scaffolding of support for the Common Core curriculum standards continues, right and left, to lose a beam here, a platform there. After adopting the standards, with vocal support from the governor, both the Oklahoma Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin have now abandoned them. The American Federation of Teachers was once a big supporter. At its meeting over the weekend, though it didn't switch to outright opposition, it voted to set up grants for teachers to critique or reformulate the standards.

Some of this — especially among the red states that have pulled away to one extent or another — is more political than educational. Even though many Republicans were among the notable figures endorsing the standards from the beginning, now politicians are more interested in pushing the “federal overreach” button as a way of denying President Obama a victory of any kind, especially right before an election.

But the Obama administration has to take the lion’s share of the blame for the uproar over Common Core. The early arm-twisting to get states to adopt it was one problem; with the standards attached to waivers from No Child Left Behind, instead of arising from states looking to improve their students’ ability to succeed in college and jobs, there was bound to be some buyers’ remorse.

But far worse were poor implementation policies supported all along the way by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. It happened too fast, with too little review. Worse, it happened with an unconscionable emphasis on holding everyone responsible right away for how students fared on a new curriculum and new tests.

In other words, this was a management failure, and Duncan, education manager in chief, managed to turn doubters and worriers into opponents when he attacked and mocked those who raised legitimate concerns.

Like NYSED Commissioner King in New York State, Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan has made a fetish of holding everybody else accountable for performance - students, teachers, administrators, schools.

But his own management failures, his political failures, his tone deafness in responding to CCSS critics and opponents - somehow he wants no accountability for himself over these matters.

This is par for the course in the ed deform world - accountability is always for others, never for ed deformers themselves.

No matter how many mistakes they make, they always think they're doing swimmingly.

And this has gotten me to thinking - maybe we don't want Duncan or King, both incapable of seeing their own mistakes or correcting their courses, to leave from power.

It will make no difference if Duncan goes because his boss, Barack Obama, and more importantly, Obama's bosses, the 1% who put him into the White House to carry out their privatization plans, will still push to have their education reform agenda implemented whether Duncan is there to do that implementation or not.

The same is true in New York where some advocates have pushed for NYSED Commissioner King's ouster.

Whether King goes or not, so long as the Board of Regents remain constituted as they are and backed by the New York State Legislature, the education reform agenda King and his merry men and women in reform are implementing at SED is not changing.

But if you're a member of the privatizer and edu-profiteer class and you're pushing to have your agenda implemented in such a way that it doesn't go away any time soon, you should want both Duncan and King fired for their sheer incompetence at institutionalizing the education reform agenda without mishap.

Whether its Duncan stepping in it by calling critics of the Common Core soccer moms who are shocked to find out their kids aren't as smart as they thought they were or King telling booing parents and teachers at a Poughkeepsie Common Core town hall that if they weren't totally silent as he issued his propaganda rhetoric to them he was taking his political football and going home, neither of these two ed deform functionaries have shown the skills necessary to save the Core and the ancillary reforms that came with it like testing and data tracking.

In some ways, if you're an opponent and critic of ed deform, King and Duncan are the best gift you can get for undoing the deform agenda.

Duncan has ensured a political firefight from the right by tying CCSS and teacher evaluations tied to CCSS tests to NCLB waivers and he did us all a favor when he stripped Washington State of its waiver over evaluations.

It couldn't have been clearer afterwards that CCSS emanates from Washington D.C., that the USDOE is the political hand behind it, and if you are opposed to Washington overreach, then you had better be opposed to CCSS and the testing that goes with it.

In King's case, he just keeps saying stupid stuff - like comparing himself to MLK Jr. and teachers engaged in Common Core shill work to members of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Even Governor Cuomo, ever an astute political observer, realizes King is an incompetent fool, which is why he has blamed the poor CCSS roll-out on King and the SED.

Quite frankly, the longer these guys hang around in power, the worse things get for the ed deform agenda.

If you're an opponent or critic of ed deform, you ought to want Duncan and King, incompetents both, to remain in their current capacities.

The best thing you can have when political institutions are trying to impose harmful reforms is incompetent, tone deaf heads of those institutions.

Long live Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education Privatization!

Long live John King, SED Commissioner, reincarnation of Martin Luther King Jr. and honorary member of the Tuskegee Common Core Airmen!

May they reign in incompetence forever, or at least until we can get some sanity back into education policy at the state and federal levels.

So long as both the USDOE and the NYSED are going to be implementing their toxic ed deform agendas no matter what, I want arrogant, deluded men incapable of seeing their own mistakes or correcting their courses like Arne Duncan and John King running things.


  1. You're right--Duncan and King have in many ways been our best advocates. But enough is enough. It's time for leaders to start paying a political price for this disaster.

  2. I have been saying this for weeks. Duncan and King brought more people into the Stop Common Core movement with their heavy handed and boneheaded actions.

    We are all better off with Duncan right where he is until NCLB, RttT and 20 US Code 7861 are repealed. Only Mike Petrilli came out with anti-Duncan comments, including duct taping Duncan's mouth, and Petrilli (hopefully jokingly) lobbying to be the next Sec Ed. shudder

    King, this week, stated the anti-Common Core movement is promoting mythology and proceeds to substantiate this claim with falsehoods. Thank you once again King for proving you are the worst man for the job.