Duncan's First Year Had Familiar Mistakes

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

Your article "Duncan Carving Deep Mark on Policy" (Jan. 20, 2010), on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s first year in office, noted the existence of opposition to his policies. That opposition is grounded in the reality that the Obama administration’s education “reform” proposals have no basis in research or practical experience. In fact, school “restructuring” and extensive privatization in Chicago, where Mr. Duncan previously served as schools chief, and elsewhere have left many students worse off than they were before. People across the political spectrum recognize this.

In addition to promoting their harmful pedagogy driven by standardized testing, Washington politicians seem determined to become the national school board. Even if “tight on ends, loose on means” were reasonable (a dubious assumption), the reality is that these proposals are tight on both.

Clearly, there is a vitally important role for the federal government in education, to promote and expand equitable opportunity to learn and to engage in research and dissemination. We also need the feds to fund sizable pilots to find out if innovative ideas such as using classroom-based evidence to evaluate school quality can be done efficiently and beneficially. But mandating annual testing (making the United States a world leader in the wrong direction) and coercing states to turn public schools over to private control are not proper federal roles.

President Barack Obama and Secretary Duncan are pushing warmed-over Bush-Paige-Spellings schemes in the No Child Left Behind style. Initiatives such as Race to the Top will intensify the problems caused by that educationally destructive law and reduce democratic control of schools. They are just more examples of the sort of dangerous overreaching that has fueled the current backlash against Washington.

Monty Neill
Interim Executive Director
National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)
Boston, Mass.

Vol. 29, Issue 20, Page 25

Published in Print: February 3, 2010, as Duncan's First Year Had Familiar Mistakes
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Vocabulary Development for Striving Readers

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >