Let’s face it. If Arne resigned, as the delegates to the NEA convention recommended in Denver, teachers would be thrilled to see one of the worst Secretaries of Education go away, but would we get someone worse? Would it be Ted Mitchell, who makes no bones about his love of privatization and for-profits? Would it be the teachers’ nemesis Michelle Rhee? Most reformers make too much money to step down to a cabinet job, so maybe it would be one of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change, like Deborah Gist of Rhode Island or Hanna Skandera of New Mexico or John White of Louisiana? What does it say about Obama that his likely choice would have to be acceptable to DFER, Stand on Children, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the other reformers?
One thing we would not miss: Arne Duncan’s affinity for the term “game changer.” Here is parent Matt Farmer of Chicago, remarking on how frequently Arne sees some phenomena as a game changer.
Farmer wrote in 2013:
“Let’s go back to 2010.
That February, Duncan called a proposal for increased funding of student loans “a real game-changer.”
By mid-July, he deemed “shared standards for college-readiness…an absolute game changer.”
His thinking had obviously evolved by the end of July, when he concluded that “the big game-changer is to start measuring individual student growth rather than proficiency.”
August, however, brought another epiphany. Duncan realized that the “big game-changer…revolves around the issue of teacher quality.”
In September, he concluded that the “new [Race to the Top] tests will be an absolute game-changer in public education.”
And Duncan, like a lanky philanthropist filling the tin cups of educational panhandlers, continued doling out change in 2010.
In November, he hit Paris to address the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Arne changed the game so often during that speech his UNESCO audience needed copies of “According To Hoyle” just to keep up with him.
After noting that in “the knowledge economy, education is the new game-changer,” Duncan assured the crowd that the sweeping adoption of “common college-ready standards that are internationally benchmarked . . . is an absolute game-changer.”
The secretary of education then called a “new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards” a “second game-changer,” even though it was actually the third “game-changer” Duncan had offered the assembled UNESCO masses during that difficult-to-diagram, five-minute rhetorical stretch.”
If Arne left, would it be a game changer or would President Obama go back to DFER to get their pock?