Are you missing Arne Duncan and John King? There are some nostalgia websites created just for you.

Just in case you don’t have enough to do, Peter Greene tells us about three new education-related websites launched by corporate reformers. Remember the good old days of Race to the Top, VAM, teacher-bashing, Central Falls, and lectures about bad teachers?

They are preserved on these websites.

One is called “FutureEd,” which Greene describes as a “new website with an old voice.” I love his illustration.

He writes:

There’s a new education reform website on the scene, another “new voice” representing a new thinky tank, slick and pretty and well-endowed and charter-friendly and made out of smooshed-together words. Welcome FutureEd

Much of the pitch is familiar. FutureEd is “grounded on the belief that every student should be effectively prepared for postsecondary learning and that performance-driven education systems have the potential to greatly improve student achievement.” And like all such undertakings, the site is intent on letting us know that they are totally independent and fair and balanced and in no way going to pursue a particular agenda…

If this all feel a little reformy, take a gander at the list of Senior Fellows, which includes Norman Atkins (Relay GSE), Steve Cantrell (formerly Gates Foundation), Marshall S. Smith (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), and Joanne Weiss (formerly New Schools Ventures Fund and Race to the Top apologist).

And then there’s the list of funders, which includes the Bezos Family Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

So if you think this thinky tank does not have a love of charter schools and other reformy features built into its dna, I would ove to sell you a bridge.

There is an article defending the Common Core and its testing. There is one on how great teacher evaluation is going.

And the topper is an article knocking me for things I never wrote. As Greene points out, no one agrees with me all the time, and as I often say, I often don’t agree with me, and publicly don’t agree with things I wrote years ago. But, hey, take your best shot. I will survive, and furthermore, I will soon hit 30 million page views!

The other new education-related website is called “The Line.” Peter Greene writes that The Line is “Yet Not Another New Voice.”

Greene writes:

Apparently we are in the season of website launches. An outfit called FutureEd has entered the thinky tank and website world with a spirited return to the ed reform greatest hits of yesteryear. Refugees of the Obama education department have launched a website that is… I don’t know. Cementing their legacy? Shaping the narrative? Keeping a bunch of out-of-work pols busy?

And then there’s The Line.

The Line enters the interwebs with the umpty-gazillionth call for reasonable happy voices in the debate “written by education leaders for education leaders, that endeavors to encourage civil discourse and action around the most challenging issues facing K-12 education. Engagement and thoughtful debate isn’t a choice but an imperative to bettering pubic education. Leaders need a forum for the exchange of ideas and information – they’ll find that at ”

Who has gotten a big fat check to make this new, slickly produced call for civil discourse a reality?

John Deasy.

Yes, the John Deasy whose failure as the superintendent of Los Angeles schools was spectacular enough to merit national press attention. Not that his failure there ended his career– his patron Eli Broad hired him for the Broad Faux Academy of You’re A Superintendent Because I Say So. And now the folks at Frontline Education have hired him to editor-in-chief his way through this operation.

The Line promises “an editorial advisory board of diverse backgrounds, politics and opinions” and it is true that the board runs the entire reform gamut from A to B. The group includes Andres Antonio Alonso (Havard GSE), Tommy Chang (Supt. Boston Schools), Charlotte Danielson (yes, that one), William R. Hite (Supt. Philadelphia Schools), Vicki Phillips , (calling herself an “education strategist” these days), Andrew Rotherham (Bellwether Partners), Frederic Hess (American Enterprise Institute), Paul Toner (Exec Dir, Teach Plus MA), and Tom Boasberg (Supt. Denver Schools). There are several Chiefs for Change, several Broad graduates, several consultants, some Harvard GSE grads, and some charter folks.

Greene summarizes the high and low points of the first appearance of The Line.

And he concludes:

The “issue” wraps up with Deasy waxing rhapsodic further on civil discourse in language that, like much of the site, seems as if it’s been tied to the rack and interrogated with extreme prejudice. Here’s a pull quote, presumably what they consider an exemplar of the site’s style:

“To bridge divide, I believe we must become more proximate to those we differ with cloaked in the very act of civil discourse.”


We’ve wondered for a few years what would happen to reformsters when they approached the autumn of their careers. Apparently at least part of the answer is that they get together on websites where they play their greatest hits, like over-aged rock bands traveling the county fair circuit.

The third website is dedicated to the heroic adventures of Arne Duncan and John King. Remember them? Their website is called Education 44, to remind you of the good old days when the U.S. Department of Education was telling everyone how to fix their schools and how productive it was to fire principals and teachers, and close their schools for good. O the good old days!

Nobody tells it better than Peter Greene!

That’s right– a bunch of USED refugees have created a website as a monument to eight years of.. well, we’ll get to that. Of all these sites, Education44 most explicitly promises to keep its eyes on the rear-view mirror of education policy:

Under President Obama – the 44th President of the United States – the U.S. Department of Education worked to make America’s promise attainable for more students. The administration’s agenda focused on protecting access to a high-quality education for all students while reforming and innovating public education to produce greater equity.

Here you will find the legacy of the Obama administration’s work, and a balanced platform where you can learn about policies and ideas for improving public education.

That link takes you to our first legacy document– John King’s exit memo that attempts to sum up the many accomplishments of the Obama-Duncan-King Ed Department. Those missions that have been accomplished are:

1) Greater access to pre-school and more high school grads. Are the pre-schools any good? Did schools fudge numbers to get more “grads.” Oh, let’s just not talk about that.

2) Higher standards and better assessments. Oh, honey. Trying to take credit for Common Core without saying its name is ballsy, but dumb. Those standards were craptastic, and we’ll be years trying to undo the damage. And no– the assessments aren’t better, and the administration’s insistence on placing the Big Standardized Test at the center of the educational system will long stand as one of the most destructive, toxic, and foolish legacies of the administration.

3) More personalized learning through technology. Well, at least they admit that’s what they’ve been up to. It is a dead end–and an expensive one– so thanks, Obama, for that special gift.

4) Historic investments in higher education. Yeah available loans were increased, allowing even more students to go into debt. Hooray?

5) Early learning. Here they brag about the grants used to extend all of their bad educational ideas (standardization, test-driven ed, computer-based instruction) down to the 0-5 year old crowd. Admit it– you guys have no idea whether any of that resulted in actual learning or not. All we can be sure of is that it warped a lot of small children’s childhood while getting them a good head start on having their digital privacy violated.

6) Opportunity and success. This is super-vague, but I gather that they are pleased with ESSA (despite its punch-in-the-face to their department) and also, they are serving the hell out of underserved students. Somehow.

7) Innovation and evidence of what works in education. They have gathered evidence from grant-spurred programs that provide evidence of the evidence-based approach to education that really works, because they have evidence. Somewhere. Honest.

8) Support for education and the teaching profession. Oh, please. The last eight years were just as hostile to teachers and public education as any other years ever (with the possible exception of the next four years). You treated us like the problem, ignored our voices, and drove us out of the current and future profession. The department tries to get applause for its ambassador fellowship program that accomplished jack. Okay, not quite true– it made the department pat itself on the back for allowing a handful of teachers to come pretend to be listened to. Meanwhile, the department claims that we were all clamoring for better feedback on professional development. Incredibly, King gives them credit for pursuing the program of finding great teachers and moving them around to needy schools, a policy idea that never, ever actually happened anywhere (which is good, because it was a dumb idea). They would also like credit for “helping” the profession by meddling in college teacher prep programs. Dammit you guys– you were never our friends, ever.

9) Strong students support. Here’s a list of some grant programs. Whoop-de-doo.

10) Protection of student civil rights. It was one of their more creative approaches to strong-arming state and local ed leaders. Of course, in Trumpistan, there will be no such activity.

11) College affordability. Well, the department made a big fat ton of money on college loans, but I don’t think that much helped people who wanted to go to college.

Too darn bad that Race to the Top expended all of its $5 billion and left nothing behind. Not even a line in the sand. Nothing. And then there was that sad evaluation from the U.S. Department of Education that concluded that the $5 billion accomplished nothing at all. But let’s not talk about that. How we miss Arne and his regular lectures about how terrible our public schools are, how bad our teachers are, how dumb our students are, how awesome charter schools are, how everyone should be fired and replaced. O, Arne, we hardly knew ye.