Open Letter to Arne Duncan
Dear Mr. Duncan:
I have been troubled by many things about you and the direction your department has taken. The fact that you are not a teacher and could never know what it is like and how harmful your policies are is not even my biggest complaint.
The fact that you continue to direct my money to the educational testing complex- its consultants, infrastructure and assorted cottage industries is not even my biggest complaint.
The fact that you continue to insist that education reform is “state driven” when federal hammers await for those who fail to agree to federal fiats- is not my biggest complaint.
The fact that you forced sates to use test scores for teacher evaluations if they wanted waivers- is not my biggest complaint.
The fact that you allow the false narrative of failing schools to continue unabated is not even my biggest complaint. We don’t have a standards problem yet you let your friends continue the lie. The Exxon Mobile commercials are scandalous- and you shrug.
Mr. Duncan, our low and non-poverty students in well-funded public schools score at the top of the world. The problem is obvious and it is not standards.
The fact that you have encouraged testing and the bastardizing of Pre-K and K is not my biggest complaint. We will soon have a generation of “Arne’s Kids.” They will have the love of learning sucked out before they enter the first grade. Shame on you.
The fact that you say you want less testing yet support common core- which brings more testing than ever before on this planet- is not even my biggest complaint.
Mr. Duncan, you took advantage of a nation. You took advantage of states. You took advantage of districts. You took advantage of schools. You took advantage of parents, teachers and students. With America in economic hardship you came in like a loan shark – a price gouger. You took advantage of a crisis to use our teachers and students for your political agenda (and that of your boss).
You offered us one poison promising a slow death (waivers) in exchange for one offering a quick death (NCLB). You held out our tax dollars to states- only if they did as you commanded.
RTTT has enough strings to strangle any marionette.
You also allowed states to defund education and look for handouts (with strings) from Uncle Sugar. Some might call this extortion. I will let the courts decide on that matter.
A few months ago, the World Economic Forum noted that one thing hurting the global competitiveness of the US was the growing nefarious relationship between government and big business. Mr. Duncan, you are a big part of this problem.
That, Mr. Duncan, is my biggest complaint. You took advantage of a hurting nation with growing poverty and despair, to sell us out to the educational testing complex. This is your legacy and you should resign now. Go write your book and serve on Boards. They will love you.
We, the hoi polloi, have had quite enough.