What Arnie Duncan’s Resignation Really Implies (Guest Post by Daniel Kwet)

Daniel Kwet is a Connecticut educator on the front lines of the effort to provide Connecticut’s urban children with the education they deserve.  In a school system under-funded by both the State of Connecticut and the local community, Daniel Kwet and his colleagues are not only fighting for children but provide a powerful inspiration for the rest of us who are advocating on behalf of students, parents, teachers and our public schools;

What Arnie Duncan’s Resignation Really Implies (Guest Post by Daniel Kwet)

Recently, Arne Duncan announced that he will resign as United States Secretary of Education.  His tenure has been controversial.  The National Education Association had recently asked for his resignation and its board cheered when he stepped down.  Understanding these events and their significance should help us better understand what is happening in the ongoing fight for public education.  It should also help us to understand the obstacles our unions and all people interested in the future of public education are facing.

While I am no fan of Arne Duncan, I think his resignation needs to be situated in the broader landscape of our political system.  We are currently entering an election cycle.  When Barack Obama ran for office in almost 8 years ago, he ran with Linda Darling-Hammond as his educational advisor, one of the most progressive possible choices he could have made.  Upon election, Obama made a clear shift in appointing Duncan.  Duncan had been “CEO” of Chicago schools and pushed a corporate agenda, so no one could have had any delusions about who he was.  He proceeded to help push through the Race To the Top, the Bush administration’s educational policy on steroids.

The Democratic Party is thoroughly saturated with pro-corporate education deformers.  At every level, national, state, and local, Democratic deformers have been pushing charter schools and restructuring our school policies to adopt a corporate mentality, stripping the public sphere of its emphasis on common good through high stakes standardized testing and through grants that are funded by the super-rich, especially Gates, Waltons, and Eli Broad.  Many urban districts are strapped for cash, leaving them in a weakened position to turn down outside programs when there is a strong enough financial incentive.

As we enter another election cycle, there will be an attempt to make Hillary Clinton look like a saint.  The NEA has officially endorsed Hillary and highlighted her “achievements” in a front page editorial.  Environment plays a large role in shaping the child’s education.  As educators, we should be aware that her husband ripped apart welfare with the Orwellian titled Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, passed through the anti-labor North American Free Trade Agreement that sent good paying jobs to sweatshops overseas, greatly increased the amount of people (mostly black and Latino) in our prison systems (though now we’re supposed to believe it was a mistake).  Perhaps most egregiously, he pushed the Democrats further into the hands of its corporate wing, the Democratic Leadership Council in so-called “Third Way” politics, helping to pave the way for what we are dealing with now. It is also worth noting that Hillary Clinton has served on the board of Walmart.

At this point, Arne Duncan was a political liability for Hillary to gain the support of teachers.  The NEA needs to have real demands and not simply clap for public relation moves.  Below are some simple things should be a base line of support for any candidate:

Will you guarantee that if elected, you will appoint a pro-teacher, pro-union secretary of education?  Who would you consider viable candidates for that position?

Will you denounce charter schools and do everything in your power to get rid of them?

Will you oppose the corporate restructuring of our schools and do everything in your power to get them adequate funding so they can more easily refuse grants that don’t align with our actual needs?

Will you refuse campaign donations from the Gates Foundation, the Waltons, the Broad Foundation, and similar foundations and their front groups?

Furthermore, the NEA has a lot to account for when it writes editorials that omit the clear flaws of the candidates.  This is a pedagogy of deceit, and we should be opposed to it, as it misinforms our members so the NEA can continue a game of begging the Democrats to dismantle public education with kiddy gloves on and friendly faces while it puts the rank and file to sleep.  We should learn from the victories in Chicago and Seattle that nothing is gained if nothing is demanded.  If we fail to learn, we will be in the same place in 2017 as we were in 2009.

Without A Net – The challenge of learning in chaos

Education advocate and commentator Wendy Lecker has yet another – MUST READ – piece in this weekend’s Stamford Advocate and on the Hearst Media website.  You can find the original at: Wendy Lecker: The challenge of learning in chaos.

The challenge of learning in chaos

The notion of equal educational opportunity was explained clearly by Kansas Judge Terry Bullock in a 2003 school funding decision: “If a child lives a great way from school, the transportation cost for that child will be greater than for another child nearer to school — just to provide him or her the same educational opportunity. Similarly, if a child cannot speak English, it may cost more to teach that child English as a second language before the child can learn math and other subjects.”

In other words, providing equal opportunity means meeting children where they are — helping them overcome their individual obstacles to learning. Judge Bullock recognized that although those obstacles often exist outside the school walls, overcoming them is part of the state’s constitutional obligation to provide a free public education.

A new UCLA report centers on those out-of-school factors that interfere with learning. The report, titled “It’s About Time,” found that community stressors such as economic distress, hunger, lack of medical care, family problems, unstable housing and violence, result in lost learning time three times as often in high poverty schools as in low poverty schools.

While the report focuses on California, I have heard identical stories from teachers, principals and district officials in Connecticut and New York. Children in impoverished districts often arrive at school hungry, without coats, socks or with broken glasses. High school students miss the first few periods of each school day because they must ensure their younger siblings get to school safely. Children bring to school the instability they experience in their lives.

These are not isolated stories. These are the barriers many poor children encounter every day when they try to learn, and teachers encounter when they try to teach. Before a child can focus on learning, she needs to be fed and clothed and have a way to deal with any trauma she may have experienced the night before. This is why social workers, behavioral specialists, psychologists, counselors and other therapists are essential educational resources. “Support staff” is a misnomer.

More than half of American public schoolchildren live in poverty. Consequently an increasing number of schools must contend with the chaos that surrounds the lives of their students. However, as the number of poor public schoolchildren rises, schools have fewer resources to help. Most states provide schools with less funding today than they did before the recession hit. And the number of federal dollars, a very small percentage of a school district’s budget to begin with, has also shrunk considerably. The poorest districts are least able to fill in those chasms with local tax dollars.

The result? Every year, our poorest school districts must slash millions of dollars from their budgets. That means cutting services.

Teachers pick up the slack. They find jackets for students, feed them, buy school supplies and give up their lunch periods to counsel them. The UCLA report found that teachers in high poverty schools spend time “addressing a variety of important academic, social, and long-term planning issues with their students more frequently than teachers in Low Poverty schools.”

The report dispels the “absurd notion,” as former Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville once said, that “all the incompetency in our education systems has coincidentally aggregated around low income students.” Teachers in high poverty schools go above and beyond to meet their students’ needs. It is not about incompetence. It is about lack of resources.

One has to wonder why the Obama administration pushes policies that not only fail to correct the inequalities in educational resources, but instead exacerbate them.

The UCLA report revealed that poor schools lose three times more instructional days than low poverty schools to standardized testing and test prep — more than four weeks of instructional time.

It is now well-established that standardized tests do not improve learning, and narrow a school’s curriculum. It is also well-known that yearly testing is unnecessary, since a child who passes a test one year is overwhelmingly likely to pass the next.

Yet U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan clings to the faulty conviction that children must suffer through standardized tests every year so that children “do not fall through the cracks.” How absurd. Teachers know which children are struggling academically.

If policymakers were truly concerned with children falling through the cracks, they would make sure that every school had a safety net to catch them. Too often, our neediest children must face life’s harshest realities. It is time politicians stop ignoring how those realities impact our schools.

For more go to: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-The-challenge-of-learning-in-chaos-6093176.php

The pro-Common Core Standardized Testing governor throws students, parents and teachers a bone.

With election day in sight, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy, one the of country’s leading corporate education reform supporters, recently issued a press release announcing that he was writing a letter to Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to “explore” reducing the use of the Common Core standardized testing for 11th graders.  (Malloy’s pro-corporate education reform industry initiatives have earned him more than a quarter of a million dollars in campaign donations from the state and national education reformers so far this year).

Pro-public education advocate and Hearst Media Group columnist Wendy Lecker takes on Governor Malloy’s standardized testing ploy in an commentary piece entitled, “Malloy’s empty words about testing

Wendy Lecker writes,

Throughout his administration, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy‘s education policies have been characterized by a disdain for evidence of what helps children learn, and a refusal to listen to those closest to students — parents and teachers. While it has been proven that test-based accountability has done nothing to help learning, and has increased stress in children of all ages, Malloy callously maintained, “I’ll settle for teaching to the test if it means raising test scores.”

Now, weeks before the gubernatorial election, the governor has suddenly declared an interest in the welfare of children — or some children. In a self-congratulatory news release, the governor announced that he wrote to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to begin a “dialogue” about how to reduce one standardized test for 11th graders.

Malloy’s newly discovered concern for over-testing for one grade must be understood against his record on standardized testing. Just two years ago, the Malloy administration rushed through an application for an NCLB “waiver,” which exchanged some of NCLB’s mandates for many other mandates — including massively increasing standardized testing. The waiver obligated the state to administer the Common Core tests, including moving the high school test from 10th to 11th grade, and to use the widely discredited method of including standardized test scores in teacher evaluations.

Recognizing the potential for an explosion in standardized testing, parents, school board members and teachers implored the Malloy administration not to apply for the NCLB waiver until it assessed the impact on our children and the cost to taxpayers. Yet, the Malloy administration ignored these warnings and submitted the application.

A year before the administration of the SBAC field tests statewide, I and others wrote about the lunacy of moving the high school test to 11th grade, a year when most students have a heavy course-load, AP tests, ACTs and SATs. Again, the Malloy administration disregarded the public and charged ahead.

When the statewide SBAC pilot tests were to be administered last year, parents expressed reluctance to state and local officials about subjecting their children to this experiment. Rather than consider their genuine concern, the Malloy administration employed a strategy to intimidate parents. It called for presenting parents with threatening letters and half-truths. Finally, if a parent persisted through the gauntlet of misrepresentations and insisted on opting her child out, the Malloy administration would relent and admit there is no penalty for doing so.

Some parents defied the Malloy administration’s bullying and sat their children out of the field tests. Eleventh graders sat out in the largest numbers. Hence Malloy’s new-found concern for over-testing — for 11th graders only.

Though Malloy professes concern about over-testing 11th graders, in reality he plans to increase testing for everyone. In May, his PEAC commission announced a plan to use multiple standardized tests in teacher evaluations going forward. Not only does this plan double down on the flawed practice of using standardized tests to measure a teacher’s performance, it also vastly increases testing for children. The SBAC interim tests, which the Malloy administration recommends, will likely double the standardized testing that already exists.

Against the reality of his policies, Malloy’s letter to Duncan proves to be nothing more than political posturing.

Contrast Malloy’s empty rhetoric with the actions of Vermont’s state officials. As Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe explained to parents in a letter in August, Vermont chose not to apply for the NCLB waiver because of the voluminous evidence demonstrating that including test scores in teacher evaluations is inaccurate; and the evidence that over-emphasizing standardized tests discourages teaching a rich curriculum.

In this letter, Holcombe explained that Vermont disagrees with federal education policy around standardized testing. She declared that NCLB’s reliance on test scores as the main measure of school quality “does not serve the interest of Vermont schools, nor does it advance our economic or social well-being.” Noting the failure of test-based accountability to narrow learning gaps between poor and affluent children, Holcombe wrote: “We need a different approach that actually works.”

Vermont’s State Board of Education followed with a resolution carefully reviewing the evidence on testing; calling on the federal government to reduce testing mandates and to stop using tests to evaluate teachers; and calling on state and national organizations to broaden educational goals and ensure adequate resources for schools.

The actions of Vermont’s state government remind us that the purpose of education policies is to benefit children. Sadly, Governor Malloy only seems to acknowledge the welfare of children when he is trying to snag votes.

You can read Wendy Lecker’s full commentary piece in the Stamford Advocate at:  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/default/article/Lecker-Malloy-s-empty-words-about-testing-5768147.php

Terrence Carter’s Ph.D. Award Date Arrives, But His Doctorate Doesn’t

The Hartford Courant’s investigative reporter, Jon Lender, “effectively” finishes up his sure to be award winning series on U.S.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s “hand-picked” education reform disciple, Terrence Carter, with a breaking news story entitled,  Terrence Carter’s Ph.D. Award Date Arrives, But His Doctorate Doesn’t.

Lender, who led the Courant’s investigation of “Dr.” Michael Sharpe, the disgraced former head of the Jumoke/ FUSE charter school chain, turned his attention to the highly touted education reform export who the Malloy administration was bringing in to join Special Master Steven Adamowski to “turnaround” New London public schools.

The Courant’s investigative operation quickly determined the truth about “Dr.” Terrence Carter including the fact that despite what Carter claimed, he did not have a Ph.D from Stanford University or Stanford and Oxford Universities or even from Lesley University in Massachusetts.

Among one of “Dr.” Terrence Carter’s many explanations was the observation that while he hadn’t actually received a Ph.D from Lesley in the past, he was going to be given one this month.  He even bragged that when he defended his thesis, the committee informed him that he could now call himself “Dr.”

Well, the good “doctor’s” version of reality appears to be a bit different from the reality that the rest of us live in.

In this afternoon’s Courant article, Lender writes;

Embattled New London school superintendent candidate Terrence P. Carter had been scheduled to receive his Ph.D. in Education Monday from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. — but that didn’t happen.

“I can confirm that Terrence Carter does not have a degree from Lesley University,” Director of Communications John Sullivan said in an email.

He was then whether other candidates received their degrees on Monday’s long-scheduled “conferral date” of Aug. 25, and whether it’s still possible that Carter would receive his doctorate.

“Degrees have already been conferred today. He does not have a degree from Lesley,” Sullivan said in a subsequent email. “Beyond that, I have no further comment on his or any other student’s academic information.”

Carter did not respond to Courant messages seeking comment Monday.

Carter was selected by New London’s school board in June to be its next superintendent of schools, but the Board postponed a vote on awarding him an employment contract in late July.

The postponement came in the wake of newspaper revelations that Carter had used Ph.D. and Dr. with his name for at least five years without having a doctorate from an accredited college, and that large portions of his New London job application essay were identical to language in articles published on the Internet.

Lesley University would not discuss the reasons why Carter’s doctorate was not awarded.

Questions about Carter deepened when a national research organization provided The Courant with a copy of a bio that it says Carter submitted in 2011 including the claim that he had a Ph.D. from Stanford University, which he does not;. Also, The Courant reported that Carter got a Ph.D. in 1996 from “Lexington University” — which doesn’t have a campus and had a website offering degrees for several hundred dollars with the motto “Order Now, Graduate Today!”

The school board commissioned an investigation into Carter’s background after the newspaper disclosures in July,. The report on that probe by the Hartford law firm of Shipman & Goodwin, the board’s legal counsel, is due to be presented at a meeting Thursday night. It’s unclear whether the board will go through that night with its previously scheduled vote on whether to enter an employment contract with Carter.

Carter had told New London officials during the application process that he was due to receive a Ph.D. in education from Lesley this summer — and, in a letter dated June 10, Carter’s senior adviser at Lesley verified that he had “successfully defended his dissertation” on May 28, and would officially be awarded his Ph.D. on the “next degree conferral date, August 25, 2014 — which was Monday.

But that situation has changed, according to Sullivan’s email.

[…]

The Ph.D. that Carter had been scheduled to receive was for a dissertation entitled “Driving Value within a Changing Network of Schools through Learning and Development: The Use of a 360° Feedback Tool To Drive Change and Bring Value in Public Education.”

Carter told the Courant in July he would be willing to send a copy of the dissertation, but he has not done so. Lesley has declined to release a copy.

Carter and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment last week on Simmons’ letter and other questions concerning the New London situation.

The New London board’s June choice of Carter was watched more closely than most local hirings of school administrators, partly because the state Department of Education has played a strong role in addressing the local system’s record of low performance. The board’s June announcement that it had selected Carter was endorsed publicly by state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

You can read Jon Lender’s full story at: http://touch.courant.com/#section/2225/article/p2p-81175756/

Dannel Malloy and Arne Duncan will hold press event in Hartford Today – May 19, 2014

Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy, who introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-public education “reform legislation” of any Democratic governor in the nation will join Arne Duncan, the anti-teacher, anti-public education United States Secretary of Education, for a joint appearance in Harford today.
The press event will feature Governor Malloy and United States Secretary of Education Duncan, along with U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy, Lt. Gov. Wyman, Hartford Mayor Segarra and Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education.

The group will be holding a scripted “town hall discussion” on “College Readiness” followed by a press conference.

Hurricane Katrina the best thing that happened…

Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education, is infamous for his claim that Hurricane Katrina was, “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans,” because it wiped out the existing public school system which allowed it to be replaced with one that is totally privatized, completely made up of charter schools rather than public schools, and no longer employs teachers who belong to unions.

And the governor who tried to repeal tenure and eliminate collective bargaining for some teachers…

Meanwhile, here in Connecticut, Malloy‘s “education reform” legislation has dramatically increased funding for privately run charter schools, while knowingly underfunding magnet schools and other public schools.

In addition, Malloy’s legislative initiative attempted to destroy the teacher tenure system and eliminate collective bargaining for teachers in “turnaround schools.”

While Duncan will be remembered for his celebration of Hurricane Katrina, those who support public education in Connecticut will not forget Malloy’s statement  that teachers need only show up for four years in order to get tenure and that he didn’t mind teaching to the test as long as the test scores go up.

Rather than use the event to congratulate each other on the destruction of our public schools, Connecticut’s elected officials should be explaining to Duncan that the Common Core and Common Core Testing scheme is a fiasco that needs to be repealed and that Connecticut must be allowed to develop its own effective teacher evaluation system that doesn’t rely on the use of unfair, inappropriate and faulty standardized test scores.

But rather than use the Duncan appearance as an opportunity to ensure that Connecticut’s students, teachers and parents are properly represented, today’s event will be just another celebration of the corporate education reform industry’s ongoing efforts to destroy America’s public education system.

Another MUST READ column – Are Wall Street Values Right for Schools?

Fellow public school advocate and award-winning columnist Sarah Darer Littman had another “MUST READ” column posted on this past weekend’s CT News junkie website.

Sarah Darer Littman reminded readers that while Governor Malloy and the corporate education reform industry are fond of claiming their reforms are all about the children, the reality is far from that.

Here piece traces the “education reformers” and their on-going effort to bringing Wall Street values to our local public schools.  Her column could also have been entitled, “Beware: Their preoccupation with data is destroying our schools.”

Littman reminds readers that President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, recently said,

 “Data is an essential ingredient in the school reform agenda. We need to follow the progress of children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career to see whether they are on-track for success . . . I look forward to the day when we can look a child in the eye at the age of eight or nine or 10 and say, ‘You are on track to succeed in colleges and careers.’ . . . Data systems are a vital ingredient of a statewide reform system . . . Data can help us unleash the power of research to advance reform in every school and classroom in America. Data can help us identify the teachers and principals all across America who are producing miracles in the classroom every day . . . Data can help us identify outdated policies and practices that need to change so our children will succeed in school and in the workforce.”

And she added Bill Gates’ comment that,

“Aligning teaching with the common core — and building common data standards — will help us define excellence, measure progress, test new methods, and compare results. Finally, we will apply the tools of science to school reform.”

But then Littman turned to the real experts, the ones who actually understand that value and role of data.

In this case it was the American Statistical Association, one of the nation’s leading academic experts on the role of data and statistics.  The organization recently blasted the education reformers and their failure to recognize the very real problems associated with their junk science.

All of those who are fighting to save our schools should definitely read Sarah Darer Littman’s latest piece which can be found at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_are_wall_street_values_right_for_schools/

When you read it, you’ll also find that Littman ended her column with a paragraph worth clipping and saving.  She wrote,

Teaching is a collaborative profession, something that the current administration and the billionaires who guide its actions don’t appear to understand. What’s more, as parents we want our children to receive a well-rounded education that prepares them not just to be “college and career ready” but to be life ready — to develop the critical thinking skills, the creativity, the social skills, and the ability to advocate for themselves that they’ll need as citizens in what’s left of our democracy post-Citizens United and McCutcheon. Perhaps that’s what the billionaires are afraid of?

Hide your children – Arne Duncan is coming to Connecticut Tuesday

According to the Hartford Courant, “The governor’s office confirms that Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, will visit Hartford’s University High School on Tuesday afternoon at 1:30. Duncan will speak on college accessibility and affordability. According to Duncan’s office the event will include U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and others.”

Considering Duncan et. al. are coming to speak about college affordability, choosing Hartford’s University High School of Science and Engineering, rather than one of Connecticut’s public colleges or universities is an interesting choice.

Considering Governor Malloy has instituted the deepest budget cuts in Connecticut history to the state’s public institutions of higher education, cuts that have led to significant tuition increases, it could be that the Governor’s handlers are worried that they won’t receive a warm welcome.

[Back in the fall of 2010 I attended a University of Connecticut Young Democrats meeting with candidate Dan Malloy in which he took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and promised to put an end to Governor Rell’s approach of shifting costs from the state to students and their families.  What a sad commentary that Malloy has done far more to increase college costs for Connecticut’s families than Rell ever did].

In any case, Malloy and Duncan are not appearing at one of Connecticut’s public colleges or universities, they are speaking at a Hartford public school.

As so-called education reformers perhaps Malloy and Duncan are more comfortable sticking to the corporate education reform environment that has become Hartford’s School System.

Hartford’s University High School of Science and Engineering is a prime example of a place where the hard work and real achievement of teachers and students have been overshadowed by the political spin that is the centerpiece of the corporate education reform industry.

According to University High School’s most recent STRATEGIC SCHOOL PROFILE filed with the Connecticut State Department of Education the school gets 51 percent of students from 35 towns surrounding Hartford and 49 percent of its students from Hartford.

Of the student population, 30 percent is White, 34 percent African American, 23 percent Hispanic and 13 percent from “other ethnicities.”

Although it is interesting to note that the school claims that only 2.8 percent of its students are English Language Learners (meaning that they are not proficient in the English Language).  The number is unbelievably low considering the significant number of students from Hispanic and other ethnic backgrounds.

Furthermore, the school reports that only 7.5 percent of its students need special education services, far fewer than the percentages in Hartford or the 34 sending towns.

And then the numbers become even more suspect.

According to the Strategic School Profile, University High School of Science and Engineering graduated its fourth class with a “100% graduation rate.”

The school adds that “100% of graduating seniors applied to and were accepted into a 2 or 4 year college. 90% of graduates are attending a four-year college or university; 8% are attending two-year colleges; and 2% post graduate year.”

However, the school also states that 185 students qualified as truant meaning that 48% of the entire student body was absent for an extremely extended period of time.  Not that truancy necessarily prevents a 100% graduation rate and 100% college attendance rate but the statistic is rather odd.

In addition, another troubling statistic is that only 10.6 percent of the juniors and seniors at Hartford’s University High School were enrolled in college credit courses of any type.  Compare that number to Buckley High where 14.6 percent of the juniors and seniors were taking college credit courses.

Of course, both schools do significantly better than Capital Prep where absolutely no students were enrolled in college credit courses.

Over the last few years it has become painfully clear that Secretary Duncan, Governor Malloy and the Obama and Malloy administrations are addicted to policies that are “data driven.”

And playing with the numbers to ensure they match the policy goals is not unheard of.

So, with tuition skyrocketing at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, increases that are a direct result of Governor Malloy’s budget cuts, it will be very interesting (and entertaining) to hear the spin that will be coming from Duncan and Malloy on Tuesday afternoon.

Arne Duncan is an idiot (and a liar)

Earlier this week, some data about the results of some international standardized test scores were released.  Diane Ravitch put them in perspective in a piece published by the Huffington Post.  (See: What You Need to Know About the International Test Scores).

But quite frankly, more interesting than the results was the way the corporate education reform industry tried to spin the data to foster the belief that America is failing.

The “education reformers” message continues to be that America’s public education system is failing and the solution is to hand our public school system over to private corporations who will “turnaround” our schools by introducing the miracle of competitive capitalism in the way in which schools are governed and managed.

(Remembering that conservative corporate champion Rupert Murdoch called American’s public education system a $500 billion market)

The corporate reform spin was exemplified by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who, upon the release of the results, tweeted,

“The bad news from #OECDPISA: US is running in place while other countries lap us. Good news: We’re laying the right foundation to improve.” (Arne Duncan)

Diane Ravitch responded on her blog which is posted at www.dianeravitch.net.

Ravitch wrote;

This is very sad. If PISA shows anything, it is that the policies of the Bush-Obama administrations have not reached their one singular goal: higher test scores.

NCLB was signed into law on January 8, 2002. Since that time, every public school in the nation has followed the same federally-mandated prescription. It doesn’t work.

A reporter asked me last night whether the US performance over the past half century shows that no reforms work. I disagreed strongly. There was never any nationwide school reform that affected every school and every district until NCLB. Only since 2002 have we had a single federal policy. Before we had different districts adopting different programs and reforms, as they chose. PISA shows that the past decade of annual testing of basic skills in grades 3-8 failed. No other country in the world tests every child every year. No other country places as much value on test scores as we do. No other country fires principals and teachers and closes schools based on test scores.

Arne’s tweet is like a basketball coach who tells his team to use the same game plan again and again and again. It fails every time. Yet he says we must stick to his game plan anyway.

It makes no sense. We need a game changer. We need reduced class sizes for the students who struggle. We need bilingual teachers for English learners. We need experienced teachers but we are losing them. We need medical care for the students who never get a check-up. We need pre-K to help kids get a good start. We need after school programs and summer programs. We need healthy communities and healthy families and healthy children.

We need a national commitment to the well-being of all our children. Our children are our society’s future. We must treat them as our own.

It must really annoy Duncan and the other corporate education reformers when Diane Ravitch and the other truth-tellers provide the public with information about what is really going on.

But of course, as we know from our experience here in Connecticut, education reformers like Governor Malloy, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Special Master Steven Adamowski and their supporters don’t let something like the truth get in the way of their public policy agenda.

Wait, What? makes Diane Ravitch’s blog twice today

America’s leading public school advocate generously featured two posts today stemming from Wait, What?

In “Steve Perry Loses a School and His Cool,” Diane reports on Wait, What’s investigative reporting on Capital Preparatory Principal Steve Perry and the coverage that information then received in yesterday’s Washington Post.

Diane also featured a Wait, What? post entitled “How Do You Spell Disaster? A Round-Up of Bloggers on Duncan’s Gaffe About the Moms” that highlighted the work of education bloggers from around the country and their coverage of Arne Duncan’s absurd claim that the problems associated with the roll-out of the Common Core Standards could be attributed to suburban, white moms who didn’t want to find out that their children weren’t that bright after all.

As always, it is a tremendous honor to be recognized on Diane Ravitch’s blog.

How do you spell disaster? Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan is a buffoon.

Unfortunately for the nation’s students, teachers, parents and public education system he also serve’s as the country’s Secretary of Education.

Over the past few days, Education Bloggers around the country have been reporting on Duncan’s recent defense of the national corporate education privatization movement.

Here are some of the commentary pieces education bloggers have posted over the last few days about Arne Duncan’s recent claim that suburban white moms are the problem behind the Obama Administration’s problems with the Common Core roll-out. 

More blog posts will be added as they are located.

At the bottom of the post you’ll find a link to one of the petitions going around calling for Duncan’s removal.  

 Julian Vasquez Heilig – A Top Ten of Duncan’s Inanity: Obama’s Basketball Buddy Drops Ball on Ed

 Paul Thomas – SECRETARY DUNCAN AND THE POLITICS OF WHITE OUTRAGE

 Paul Thomas – AN ARNE DUNCAN READER: LET’S HAVE THAT CONVERSATION

 Paul Thomas – THE DUNCAN DEBACLE: IT’S NOT (JUST) ABOUT DUNCAN

 Jose Luis Vilson – First They Came For Urban Black and Latino Moms (For Arne Duncan)

 Chris Guerrieri – Arne Duncan’s backhanded insult to teachers.

 Mercedes Schneider – Some Kids “Aren’t Brilliant”? This Duncan Blunder Is Bigger Than It First Appears

Mercedes Schneider – Arne Is Aiming for Damage Control But Just Can’t Seem to Get It Right

Ken Previti – White suburban dads: Wimps?

Ken Previti – Arne and the Mommies II: “My son had great test scores…”

Kenneth Bernstein – A parent’s response to Arne Duncan

Susan Ohanian – http://susanohanian.org/cartoon_fetch.php?id=849

Bronx Teacher – Arne Doofus Dingus Dunce Duncan of DC

Jan Resseger – Do We Really Care about the Education of Other People’s Children?

Crazy Crawfish – Arne Duncan has lost his mind

Rachel Levy – Public education for me but not for thee

Fred Klonsky – Arne’s racism. Which suburban white mom?

Fred Klonsky – Ten minute drawing. Clumsy phrases.

Raging Horse Blog – On Arne Duncan (and Co.) and the Inerrancy of the Common Core

Students Last – White Suburban Moms Declared A Terrorist Group

Students Last – A Sitcom Star Is Born?

The Assailed Teacher – Exclusive! My Interview with Arne Duncan

K12NewsNetwork – Why This “Suburban Mom” Thinks Arne Duncan’s All Wrong

Kitty Boitnett – Arne Duncan Sticks His Foot In His Mouth–Again

Curmudgucation – Arne Duncan vs. White Moms

DSWright/Firedoglake:  Suburban Moms” Comment, Promotes Economic Ignorance

 

Petition:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Remove Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-arne-duncan-secretary-education/w0DYCDDm