President Donald Trump and his administration get a political boost when Americans aren’t taught to think critically or to have a deep understanding of civics, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told a crowd at the National Press Club in Washington last week.
“We have a president who says, ‘Don’t watch, don’t listen, don’t pay attention to what you see out there. Listen to me, I’m your source of truth.’ That’s a very, very, very scary thing,” Duncan said. “It’s one thing to disagree and disagree vehemently on policy. It’s a different thing to say the press are the enemy of the people. And the only way an authoritarian leader keeps his power is to have people who start to believe that. ... People who are going to think critically are not going to embrace anybody ... saying ‘I’m the source of truth.’ ”
On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump said he “love[s] the poorly educated.” And there was a big gap in results between college-educated and noncollege-educated voters in that election. Fifty-two percent of voting college graduates backed Hillary Clinton, while 53 percent of those without a college degree backed Trump, the Pew Research Center found.
A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 2018 edition of Education Week as Duncan Asserts Trump Doesn’t Want a Highly Educated Citizenry