Search results for: "arne duncan"

Are you longing for a return of Race to the Top and its principles of high-stakes testing, competition, and charter schools? Then Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado is your man. He released his plan today in Iowa and it won praise from Arne Duncan. Try to forget that Race to the Top and George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind were virtually the same. Try to forget that both failed, having inflicted disruption on American schools for 20 long and fruitless years.

Warren has thus far been silent on K-12 Education. Sanders has released a thoughtful and comprehensive proposal called the Thurgood Marshall plan, which pledges tripling the funding for Title 1, dedication to desegregation, and a moratorium on new charter schools.

Bennett’s announcement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 6, 2019
Shannon Beckham, 602-402-8051,

ICYMI: Michael Bennet Joins Iowa Teachers, Parents, and Preschoolers to Unveil
Comprehensive Education

DES MOINES, IA — Michael Bennet on Thursday joined teachers, parents, and preschoolers
in Iowa to unveil the most comprehensive education agenda of any candidate, declaring “equal must be equal” if America’s children are to reach their full potential. The plan was welcomed by education experts, including former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who said Bennet “understands this work in a way few can, because he has lived it.”

Read more about Bennet’s events in Iowa and the reaction from education experts below.

Read the full plan at

Bennet started the day by dropping off school supplies at the Jesse Franklin Taylor Early
Childhood Education Center in Des Moines before hosting a roundtable discussion with educators and touring preschool classrooms.

Later, Bennet met with a group of Iowa teachers and school board members to hear about the challenges they are facing in their classrooms.

He then joined 2017 Iowa Teacher of the Year Shelly Vroegh to host a town hall forum at Central Campus in Des Moines, where students are receiving the career and technical training that is a core element of Bennet’s education plan. He answered questions from parents, teachers, and advocates about how his experience has informed his agenda.


Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: “I was lucky enough to lead CPS when Michael Bennet was doing the same in Denver—I learned a lot from him. Maybe more importantly, I have seen his heart for the children and communities that need the most help. He understands this work in a way few can, because he has lived it.”

Executive Director of Next100 Emma Vadehra:
“Senator Bennet understands the connection between opportunity and education from
his time successfully running a major urban school district. He knows what works and what doesn’t, and I’m glad he continues to make educational equity a major focus of his campaign, from high-quality early learning to meaningful college and career opportunities, and everything in between.”

Former Senior Policy Advisor to the Under Secretary of Education Michael Dannenberg: “Whereas
Donald Trump strives and thrives on dividing America, Bennet is campaigning on a vision where folks come together at the local level, since Washington can’t seem to, on a goal everyone can support—ensuring that every child, every young person gets a real chance at living the American Dream. He’s putting forth an agenda that strives for unity, embraces decentralized pragmatic problem solving, and is directed at progressive goals with accountability attached—it’s quintessential Michael Bennet.”

Education Research Alliance for New Orleans Director Douglas Harris:
“It’s the best education plan I’ve seen so far.”


Education Week:
“Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet criticized his opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination Wednesday, saying they’ve focused too much on ambitious proposals to forgive student debt and not enough on yawning inequality in the nation’s K-12 education system. Bennet…imagines a ‘new American Dream’ built on regional and state-federal partnerships to ensure children meet milestones of well-being and opportunity. Among those milestones: Children should be able to read by 3rd grade, and they should be able to enter college without needing remediation.”

Des Moines Register: “When asked about the issues facing American education, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet tends to stray from the popular college tuition discussion and instead focuses on a constituency that won’t earn him an Iowa caucus vote. Preschoolers. … ‘The burden…is carried most by the kids.’”

Associated Press:
“Besides free, universal preschool and free community college, Bennet says he wants to eventually have debt-free public colleges. In K-12 schools, Bennet wants to increase federal spending to reduce local education disparities that lead to wealthy areas getting more school dollars than poorer ones.”

The Hill: “[Bennet] unveiled a sweeping education plan that would offer ‘every child’
an opportunity to ‘flourish’ by 2028 and promises free preschool and community college. Bennet, a former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, said he’s introducing the plan to rectify historic racial and wealth disparities in the public education system.”

“Bennet’s plan includes early childhood and K-12—which is notable given the silence on K-12 issues amongst most campaigns—but his higher education plan is in strong contrast to candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders…This plan could help Bennet stand out in the field with a detailed plan addressing education from early childhood all the way to higher education.”

Iowa Starting Line:
“Understanding the economic impact and problems with our education system highlight Bennet’s background, with time in the education and business sectors. It’s also what makes him not a single-issue candidate; he understands how this single, important issue interacts with other issues and circumstances.”

“‘My sense traveling around Iowa is that you are suffering from the same thing we
are in Colorado which is just a complete under investment in the public education system,’
Bennet said, ‘We
are not investing the way that our parents and grandparents invested in us. It’s not even close.’”

CBS 2: “Bennet highlighted the importance of early childhood
education during his roundtable with educators in Des Moines, but he spent little time talking about about his education policy—instead insisting that he get input from those experiencing it first-hand.”



Jan Resseger explains the power of conventional wisdom, which persists even when its effects are harmful and its premises disproven.

She sees Race to the Top as the quintessential bad idea locked in place in almost every state.

How to restore good sense and expunge bad policies?

She shows how her own state of Ohio has been severely damaged by Duncan’s policies.

Our blog poet was recently inspired to write about Arne Duncan’s truly terrible ideas about education.

Worst ideas all the way down

Duncan’s worst idea
Is resting on another
And what is very clear
Is that one had a mother

“Duncan’s Views on Testing”

(The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

We’re only for the Good tests,
And really hate the Bad
And certainly, the Ugly tests
Were always just a fad

“America ruins on Duncan”

“America ruins on Duncan”
The motto of reform
Where every school is flunkin’
And dough nut$ are the norm

“The Duncan-Kruger Effect”

The Duncan-Kruger Effect
Is rife with school “reform”
Where thinking has been checked
And chutzpah is the norm

The Era of Arne Err”

This decade, let’s be clear,
Is “Era of Arne Err”
No education here
Just testing, VAMs and fear

21st Century Medicine”

He dragged them kicking and screaming
The kids and all their teachers
Cuz Arne‘s into bleeding
With testing and with leeches

“The Arneanderthals”
The school “reform” was hatched
In agency of ads
And policy was snatched
From prehistoric fads

“Duncan’s Speechwriter”
Putting words in Arne’s mouth
That’s my job, and man I’m proud
Speech about “surburban mom”
Man, that really was ‘da bomb’

“Duncan Cover”

Duncan Cover
Not a drill
It’s all over
Fetch your will
Arne’s coming
Through the err
Tests are bombing
VAM is flying
Teachers scream
No denying
Duncan’s scheme

Glenn Sacks, a high school teacher, read Arne Duncan’s editorial blast at the UTLA teachers’ strike and concluded that the former Secretary of Education really knows nothing about conditions of teaching in the Los Angeles public schools.

Sacks begins:

“The closer we get to a strike, the more pressure is put on us to call it off. In a recent article in The Hill, pro-charter/anti-union former Education secretary Arne Duncan criticizes United Teachers of Los Angeles, citing the Los Angeles Unified School District’s alleged financial problems. Yet the neutral, state-appointed factfinder on the dispute contradicts many of LAUSD’s (and Duncan’s) claims.

“For example, Duncan tells us LAUSD “is headed toward insolvency in about two years if nothing changes…It simply does not have the money to fund UTLA’s demands.” But arbitrator David A. Weinberg, the Neutral Chair of the California Public Employment Relations Board fact-finding panel, while noting the challenges LAUSD faces, found that the District’s reserves skyrocketed from $500 million in 2013-2014 to $1.8 billion in 2017-2018. Three years ago LAUSD projected that their 2018-2019 reserve would be only $100 million—it’s actually $1.98 billion. We’ve heard these alarming claims for many years–for LAUSD, the sky is always falling, but somehow it never falls.

“Duncan tells us LAUSD “has an average of 26 students per class. Of the 10 largest school districts in California, only one has a smaller average class size than Los Angeles.” These numbers are disputed by UTLA. Moreover, even if 26 is correct on paper, Duncan should know that student-to-teacher ratios count special education and other specialized teachers who normally have much smaller classes than regular classroom teachers. Class sizes are significantly larger than standard student-teacher ratios indicate.

“At my high school, for example, we have over 30 academic classes with 41 or more students, including nine English/writing classes with as many as 49 students, and three AP classes with 46 or more students. One English teacher has well over 206 students—41+ per class. A US Government teacher has 52 students in his AP government class. Writing is a key component of both classes—the sizes make it is impossible for these teachers to properly review and help students with their essays.”

Duncan makes clear that he sides with management and against UTLA. Betsy DeVos and Duncan are on the same side. Why are we not surprised.

Nancy E. Bailey is turning into a superstar of education blogging. She is a retired teacher and she has a firm understanding of corporate reform and its dangers.

In this post, she reviews Arne Duncan’s stubborn embrace of dangerous corporate reform.

I will copy only a portion of the post. I urge you to read it all, because it is priceless as an evisceration of failed “reformer” ideas. You should also see her links, which are many.

She writes:

With Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, it might be tempting to see Arne Duncan as an educational expert, but Duncan has never formally studied education, or been a teacher. Duncan paved the way for DeVos.

EdSurge recently brought us Arne Duncan’s 6 lessons about education. They are nothing but the same old corporate reforms that have destroyed public schools and the futures of children for years.

The lessons are wrong.

Here are his claims and my anti-arguments.

He emphasizes early childhood education and the economy.

While there’s a school-to-work connection, especially with older students in high school, teaching young children should be about their development, not promoting the economy.

Too often this message results in pushing young children to work at a higher level than they’re capable.

The report of which Duncan refers is by James J. Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. It highlights the economy and the nation’s workforce.

Here are the subheadings of the article.

*Early childhood development drives success in school and life.
*Investing in early childhood education for at-risk children is an effective strategy for reducing social costs.
*Investing in early childhood education is a cost-effective strategy for promoting economic growth.
*Make greater investments in young children to see greater returns in education, health and productivity.

His thoughts about equity are misleading.

Duncan argues that poor children need something different than what wealthy students find in their schools.

But poor children deserve well-run schools, with resources and qualified teachers, not strict charter schools run by management companies and novices.

Most charter schools care more about their bottom line.

Feeding poor children and health screenings should be a part of every school plan.

If Duncan cared so much about grief and trauma in children, why didn’t we see an increase in counselors, school nurses, and school psychologists under his watch?

He claims class sizes don’t matter.

This has been the refrain by reformers like Bill Gates for years and it is false.

Here’s the STAR study as one example in favor of lowering class size.

Lowering class sizes would help teachers have better overall classroom management.

Students would be safer, and children would get a better grasp of reading and other subjects in the early years.

He says teachers matter more than class size.

Real teacher qualifications matter. But that’s not what Duncan is talking about.

He is promoting the faulty idea that a “good” teacher can manage huge class sizes. Of course, this makes no sense.

This is also connected in a roundabout way to replacing teachers with technology. Imagine one teacher teaching thousands online.

Duncan has always been on the side of Teach for America fast-track trained teachers. Consider that they will likely become charter school facilitators, babysitters, when students face screens for their schooling.

He uses teachers as the fix for poverty.

This is an old and dangerous refrain. This message drove No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. It made standardized testing and one-size-fits all common practice.

Teachers can help students, but economic forces are greater than anything a child can learn at school.

Blaming teachers for the problems in the economy, has always been about getting the public to take their eyes off the real culprit of economic woes, the greed of those who run corporations!

Please read on. This is a great post!

Caleb Rossiter taught in both the charter schools and public schools of Washington, D.C.

In this post, he reviews Arne Duncan’s recent book about his seven years as Secretary of Education.

He came away from the experience convinced that everyone lies.

Rossiter wonders what he learned.

“”Duncan says he first encountered school lies 30 years ago, when during college he tutored at his mother’s after-school program in a poor black neighborhood in Southside Chicago. Duncan, who is white, also lived on the Southside, near his father’s job as a professor at the elite University of Chicago. His tutee was a black high school basketball star who assumed that his “B” average guaranteed a college scholarship. Duncan soon realized that the boy’s pathetic academic level meant he had no hope of even getting into college.

“The memoir makes it clear that schools are still at it, hiding from poor parents their children’s low effort, achievement, and readiness for college or work, which will keep them trapped in the underclass. That’s a depressing conclusion coming from someone who presided over a generation of accountability policies as head of the Chicago schools and then as President Obama’s secretary of education.”

Apparently, he sees nothing wrong about the high-stakes Testing and accountability regime that he promoted and has no regrets. Reflection is not his thing. He remains all in for the principles behind No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

Mercedes Schneider noticed that Peter Cunningham, the editor or former editor of the billionaire Education Post, is campaign manager for mayoral candidate Bill Daley. Cunningham worked for Arne Duncan in the U.S. Department of Education, where he strongly defended Duncan’s zeal for closing schools with low test scores.

Is this a signal that a new Mayor Daley would double down on zrahm Emanuel’s horrifying record of closing public schools? Rah my set a record unequalled in American history by closing 50 schools in a single day. Never happened before. Will Daley follow the Duncan-Rahm path?

The Klonsky brothers, Fred and Mike, have a radio show in Chicago, where they explore current issues.

On Friday, they will talk about Arne Duncan’s book and his belief that everyone but him is a liar.

“On this Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers radio show/podcast we will be talking about the current state of school reform both here in Chicago and nationally.

“We were going to spend some time on Arne Duncan’s latest book about his tenure as Chicago schools’ CEO and then as Secretary of Education.

“We even invited him to join us.

“Through a spokesman, he declined.

“UIC Professor (retired) Bill Ayers will be in studio.

“I read his book. It’s short but not exactly a page turner.

“His first chapter is called “Lies, Lies Everywhere,” which is very appropriate for this book.

“I don’t want to ruin it for you but in this novella the protagonist did nothing wrong. He was never in doubt about his plans for fixing what we all broke.

“And Duncan provides no quantitative data to prove it.

“That was surprising to me.

“Here was a guy who argued most enthusiastically for data driven decision making and data based accountability.

“And then it ends up that there is none to be found in the far-from-epic story he weaves of battling the unions and suburban moms….

“Our show is Friday at 11am. 105.5fm in Chicago. Download the Lumpen Radio app for internet listening. Or listen to the Podcast on wifi or download.”

Nancy Bailey lists the cushy jobs and boards that Arne Duncan has landed.

Getting into education has been a good gig for him. He’s making plenty money telling the country how terrible American education is, how awful teachers are, and why no one has as much courage as he does. He was the U.S. Secretary of Education for seven years. He had a powerful perch. Why didn’t he fix anything?

She hasn’t read Arne Duncan’s books but she knows the first line:

“He begins his book “Education runs on lies.” This is an insult to every authentic educator who will show up to teach children in the coming weeks.

“He talks about knowing poor children, but until you’re responsible for instructing thirty (or more) struggling students in an overcrowded classroom, lacking resources and support on a daily basis, you have no right to judge teachers.

“If only Duncan had been supportive. If he’d stood for teachers and their rights as they help children, maybe he would have been liked. But Duncan was a reformer’s reformer, put in place to privatize public schools.

“We never saw him fighting for better services for students with disabilities, reducing class sizes, or better public school programs to serve a diverse student body.

“Did he join teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kentucky, or Arizona as they struggled to get better public schools for their students?”

You know the answers to all these questions. He didn’t show up in Madison, Wisconsin, when Scott Walker started his war against teachers.

When real courage was required, he was Missing in Action. He is cleaning up now by defaming teachers, students, and parents.

Nancy Bailey sees the change from Duncan to DeVos as a continuum.

Valerie Strauss read Arne Duncan’s book. There is nothing Duncan did or said during his seven years as Secretary of Education that moved us beyond the stale and failed ideas in George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind. In education, W. got another two terms for policies that were wrong from the beginning, based on the erroneous belief that schools and teachers needed to be published if scores don’t go up.

Valerie Strauss has a long memory. She recounts just a few of the times Duncan accused educators or parents of “lying” to students, telling them they were doing better in school than they were. He has a low opinion of our students and their teachers. She notes that he continues to believe that standardized testing is the very best way to gauge how students are faring and whether their teachers are any good.

Duncan seems to believe that calling people “liars” is a successful tactic.

He wasted billions on his “School Improvement Grants” and discounts his own department’s judgement that his ideas failed. His campaign for school choice paved the way for Betsy DeVos and her even bigger campaign for school choice.

She writes:

“Duncan still thinks, apparently, his biggest mistake involved poor communication rather than the substance of the policies. If only the Education Department had better communicators, the states could have convinced everyone that standardized testing is valuable in holding schools and teachers accountable — even though there’s no evidence of that in the testing era that began with the 2002 No Child Left Behind law.

“Let’s be clear: Ample evidence exists that Duncan’s push for annual standardized testing for high-stakes decisions on teachers, students and schools was destructive and in some cases nonsensical. In some places, teachers were evaluated on students they didn’t have and subjects they didn’t teach simply because test scores had to be used as an evaluation metric.

“He still insists the problem was lousy communication.

“Duncan is now focused on gun control and says he has long been concerned about the subject, but he didn’t make it a priority when he was education secretary.

“Back then, he talked about the importance of kids being in class every weekday and supported expanding the school day, but now he is trying to build support for a nationwide strike of public schools until Congress passes comprehensive gun-control legislation. (Given the importance of education to him, it is unclear why he didn’t call for a general strike of workers, while kids and teachers continued to show up at school, but never mind.) He’s been to Parkland, Fla., where 17 people died in a high school shooting, seeking the community’s help with the boycott idea.

“In his book, he wrote that if he could do the education-secretary stint over again, he would push even harder for his policies. It is reminiscent of the insistence by Margaret Spellings, the education secretary under President George W. Bush when No Child Left Behind was passed, that the federal law was great long after its fatal flaws had been revealed to most everyone else.

“Arne Duncan never seems to learn.”