Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Arne Duncan Blames Adults For Causing "Test Trauma" In Children

The tone deafness coming from the educrats on testing continues with this doozy, courtesy of Gotham Schools:

Duncan also said that students in some states are tested too much, and acknowledged that the exams are challenging for many students. But he argued that annual standardized exams are essential for tracking student progress and monitoring the score gap between different student groups. 
He also said the tests are “just not a traumatic event” for his children, who attend public school in Virginia. 
“It’s just part of most kids’ education growing up,” he said. “Sometimes the adults make a big deal and that creates some trauma for the kids.”

Duncan said if states don't get parents to stop opting their children out of state tests, the feds "will have an obligation to step in.”

Couple points to make here:

First, considering that Duncan once blamed "soccer moms" whose kids "are not as brilliant as they thought" for opposition to the Common Core, we shouldn't be surprised that Duncan is scapegoating parents over the opt-out movement.

His argument is ridiculous, of course.

Given that these tests are now used to close schools and fire teachers, his argument that the tests are "just a part of most kids' education growing up" doesn't hold water anymore.

Before No Child Left Behind, before Race to the Top, that argument may have held some water.

But since then, there are so many high stakes attached to these tests for school districts, schools, individual teachers and even children themselves (remember when Bloomberg used the tests for class advancement?), that this argument that they're "just tests" leaks more water than the Titanic as it was going down.

Testing anxiety is rife throughout the system and while educrats and politicians want to blame adults for making a big deal over these tests when they say there is no big deal, the children know from all the anxiety that adults have over the scores that they are a very big deal indeed.

That's what happens when you take a couple of days of testing and make the existence of a school or the career of a teacher contingent upon the scores.

Second point to make here:

Duncan is not the only educrat/politician to make this argument that the tests are no big deal - so did NY State Senate finance committee chair, John DeFrancisco:

“Quite frankly, I grew up at a time—I’m ancient. If I wouldn’t take a test, … my father would have whacked me on the side of the head.” [PRO]

Is the Senator suggesting that's what parents should do now to their children who don't want to take the Common Core tests, "whack" them "on the side of the head"?

That's a bit unclear, but one thing is clear - DeFransciso, like Duncan, is trying to minimize the overtesting and test anxiety issues and make it seem like a bunch of cry babies just won't do what they're supposed to do and make their kids take the tests.

Now maybe this will be a winning argument for educrats like Duncan or politicians like DeFransciso, but frankly, I doubt it.

It's more likely that the parents who are opting their children out of the state tests will see this rhetoric for what it is - a desperate attempt to infantilize the opposition movement to the Endless Testing regime in order to keep the education reform train chugging on a little longer.

I suggest you call DeFrancsico and ask his office if the Senator is suggesting parents commit child abuse on their children in order to make them take their tests.

That certainly is one interpretation of the statement he made.

As for Duncan, he's irrelevant at this point.  He's a lame duck educrat in a lame duck administration that sunsets a year and a half from now.

But the politicians and educrats in Albany who continue to try and infantlize opposition to education reform must be dealt political prices to pay for their dirty work - and that includes DeFransciso and his "whack" statement.


  1. I am not surprised that DeFrancisco said what he did. Did anyone listen to him the night of March 31? The man was nearly incoherent. It is scary that this man is chairman of the Senate finance committee. He is a notorious windbag that does not know the first thing about classroom education or what is important to teachers, students and parents. Yet, he feels completely qualified to shoot off his mouth about education topics and vote for a bill that regulates how we are evaluated. The man is sick!

    1. That's the scary thing - these pols who are clearly full of crap get to not only pontificate about important matters they know nothing about, they get to legislate on them too!

  2. Just made the call to Sen DeFransico's office. I was told by the whomever ansers the phone that she didn't "think" the senator meant to literally hit children. I said, "You think???? So that means you're not sure." It was a 2minutes conversation during which I repeatedly asked if the senator is advising me to whack kids in the head if they don't want to take the test . She took my name and number and someone will get back to me. Roseanne McCosh

    1. That's great. Make this guy think twice about saying stupid stuff like this. And of course, it's all in the service of putting down parents who are critical of the state ed agenda.

  3. So let me get this straight: Members of Congress can undermine PRESIDENT OBAMA by writing a letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran BUT, American citizens CANNOT opt their children out of standardized testing? You've got to be kidding me?

    Secretary Duncan: It is indeed sad that your Harvard education failed you when it came to educating you on the right that EVERY American citizen has to challenge government. I guess that you slept through that lecture? Stay away from New York State ... Jon King will gladly advise you on the status of our state - he still harbors a grudge, I'm sure. P.S. We have taken a page right out of the history of the Great State of Virginia (where you live and your children attend school).

    In NYS, we believe in our right as citizens to challenge both the federal and state government especially when it comes to dealing with the education of our children. The next time you and the President have a game of 1 on 1, perhaps you might have a chat that your failed education policies have turned back America's public schools an entire generation. Stick to basketball ... education IS NOT, your game.

    1. We live in an oligarchy. The oligarchs do what they want, we must do their bidding or else.

  4. I wonder what Arne Duncan would say about the 4th grader in our school who pulled out the hair of her eyebrow during the first day of the NYS ELA test. The teacher noticed it , freaked out, and the next day the poor kid was opted out. Really - we're just making this stuff up and over reacting?

  5. Is Arne referring to the same suburban Moms that he offended with his last silly remarks?