Close Reading of Arne Duncan’s Feb. 7 Speech: Calling on hypocrisy

This series of posts responds to excerpts from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s speech “Fighting the Wrong Education Battles” on Feb. 7 to the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  The bolded parts are Sec. Duncan’s speech.  The plain text is my response.

“The second, related battle is over reforming teacher evaluation systems and the use and misuse of student achievement data in teacher evaluation.

Before diving into those debates, I want to make a couple of points.
I’m not in any way opposed to vigorous debate. In fact, I welcome it. I recognize these are issues that stir strong passions and opposing viewpoints. There’s a good reason why these controversies are referred to as “the education wars.”

I want to hear from teachers, and principals, and lawmakers, and union heads who disagree with me. That’s the democratic process at work, and I treasure it. The best way to sharpen your understanding of complex issues is to have your ideas challenged.”

Secretary Duncan, you want to hear from us?  Despite significant pay cuts to both me and my public-worker husband, we took our sons on our first family vacation ever this year… to DC, to the Save our Schools march.  While the organizers were willing to meet with you after the rally, you refused.  You were willing to meet before the rally to save your own public relations, but you were not willing to listen to us after the rally.  I also doubt you would have acknowledged the SOS march at all if Matt Damon hadn’t been keynote speaker. 

And please, Secretary Duncan, follow some teachers on Twitter.  Start with Katie Osgood.  

“In a single generation, the U.S. has gone from having the highest college attainment rate in the world among young adults to being 16th.”

This one makes me truly, truly angry.  The Obama administration has sat by while Governor Walker and Governor Christie and Governor Corbett and Governor Brewer and (fill in your own governor here) cut college spending, saying nothing.  Nothing.  At least until recently.  Doing a little research, Obama cut higher education  $89 billion over 10 years.  If you want to increase college attainment, keep it affordable.


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