Arne Duncan and ed reforms

OPINION: Arne Duncan, the fallible narrator

OPINION: Arne Duncan, the fallible narrator

Aaron Pallas weighs in on Arne Duncan’s “How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation’s Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education”

The 53-year-old Duncan has been, in my view, the most influential of the 11 Secretaries of Education since the founding of the U.S. Department of Education in 1980.

That’s not necessarily a compliment. Mr. Chips was influential. So was Walter White of Breaking Bad.

the essential contradiction of Arne Duncan: He claims to be driven by data, but he prefers a good story.

Duncan devotes three of the 10 chapters in his book to the Race to the Top competition, the basis for my claim that he has been the most influential Secretary of Education in American history. This competition propelled many states to alter their education laws and policies to bolster their chances of feeding at a $4.4 billion federal trough in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Even states that ultimately were not awarded Race to the Top funds bent their policies toward the competition’s priorities. What a brilliant stroke! Even the chance of a carrot had the desired effect! (A federally funded evaluation concluded that, because academic performance in the states that won awards was already trending upward at the time of the awards, the effect of Race to the Top on students’ academic learning was unclear.)

It’s a small leap to conclude that a great teacher is defined by the ability to raise test scores.

 

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more on RTTT and NCLB in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=nclb

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