I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Arne Duncan: Indifferent Maniac

What a nutcase:
Publishing teachers' ratings in the newspaper in the way The New York Times and other outlets have done recently is not a good use of performance data, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview yesterday.
"Do you need to publish every single teacher's rating in the paper? I don't think you do," he said. "There's not much of an upside there, and there's a tremendous downside for teachers. We're at a time where morale is at a record low. ... We need to be sort of strengthening teachers, and elevating and supporting them."
So how does this square with Duncan's famous endorsement, in 2010, of the Los Angeles Times' controversial project to publish a database of teacher "value added" ratings?
Duncan told me that while that project highlighted important data that at the time had been collected and unused by the district, its publication was "far from ideal." 

"What I was reacting to in L.A. was this mind-boggling situation where teachers were denied access to this data. The only way they could get it was through the newspaper," he said. "There was clearly some level of dysfunction [in the district], that this was the only way they could get it." 
[emphasis mine]
Oh, really? Because it sure as hell didn't sound like you were saying that back in 2010:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Monday that parents have a right to know if their children's teachers are effective, endorsing the public release of information about how well individual teachers fare at raising their students' test scores.
Duncan's comments mark the first time the Obama administration has expressed support for a public airing of information about teacher performance — a move that is sure to fan the already fierce debate over how to better evaluate teachers. 

"What's there to hide?" Duncan said in an interview one day after The Times published an analysis of teacher effectiveness in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest school system. "In education, we've been scared to talk about success."
Spurred by the administration, school districts around the country have moved to adopt "value added" measures, a statistical approach that relies on standardized test scores to measure student learning. Critics, including many teachers unions and some policy experts, say the method is based on flawed tests that don't measure the more intangible benefits of good teaching and lead to a narrow curriculum. In Los Angeles, the teachers union has called public disclosure of the results "dangerous" and "irresponsible."
Duncan said public disclosure of the value-added results would allow school systems to identify teachers who are doing things right.
"We can't do enough to recognize them, reward them, but — most importantly — to learn from them," he said. [emphasis mine]
Those were your words back before it was revealed that you never thought this through, Mr. Secretary: that publishing this data was all about "rewarding" "success." Do you think that's what the despicable NY Daily News and the NY Post have been doing? Did Rigoberto Ruelas receive his "reward" when the LA Times went after him? Is this sort of humiliation "rewarding" good teaching?

Words cannot express the rage I feel right now toward this uninformed, insouciant fool of a man. His indifference to the consequences of his words and actions defy belief. That he struts and preens on the national stage, joking around at celebrity basketball games, while casually destroying the teaching profession and the lives of individual teachers is a national disgrace.

Race To The Top is a cancer upon our national education system. Duncan's incoherence about its consequences has cheapened our national debate about education. Now he backtracks on his own words in way that puts Condoleezza Rice exclaiming "No one could have imagined..." to shame.

Arne Duncan needs to be fired immediately. Every day he remains in high office is an affront to every educator in America. I, for one, refuse to continue to be a sap for President Obama until he cuts this incompetent loose once and for all.


Anonymous said...

The war against teachers knows no ends. The deformers are after tenure, seniority, pensions, health benefits and now Donna Simon (GOP) is going after public employee sick leave benefits which she describes as a ticking time bomb. When the hell does this insanity stop. They will not be satisfied until they have reduced teachers to quivering blobs of flesh and fearful serfs.

Anonymous said...

Arne Duncan and RTTT are an absolute abomination and can only destroy what we have left of a public education system. When does sanity return instead of this deformer insanity? None of the other high performing countries have charter schools, school vouchers, non stop testing, even home schooling is non existent and actually illegal in Germany.

James Bauckman said...

They will be satisfied when education has been privatized and is making money for their financiers. The sole purpose of NCLB and RTTT is to destroy public education and privatize the whole system. We need to get people into state and local offices who care for children, families and teachers. I am running for WA state Superintendent of Public Instruction. What are you going to do? We need good people in these roles now!

Anonymous said...

""""""..... I, for one, refuse to continue to be a sap for President Obama until....."""""

Sap status finally recognized. Who had March 26 in the pool?

Anonymous said...

Who could have ever guessed that Arne Duncan would be worse than Ron Paige? Who would have ever guessed that a Democrat would be such a stooge for the prvitization
of public education as Cerf. Who would have ever guessed that Chris Christie would agree on educational reform with Obama. It is a strange new world.

Anonymous said...

Arnie Duncan sullies the meaning of an Ivy League degree.
He will cost Obama hundreds of thousands of votes, because, how much worse would a Secretary Cerf be?
Scary thought.