Who Will Be the Next Secretary of Education in 2016?
As we approach the beginning stages of the 2016 presidential elections, the stakes for the future of public education in this country could not be higher. Moreover, it is time for teachers, administrators and parents to consider whether the next president of the United States will be a true education president. Needless to say, we cannot afford another four years of an Education Secretary such as Arne Duncan. Secretary Duncan who, as a corporate education reformer with his obsession with standardized testing, has done more to privatize and weaken public education than any other Secretary of Education in the past.
Under Arne Duncan’s regime, we have witnessed the demise of the neighborhood school and the growth of charter schools as part of the privatization movement. He has imposed with his Race to the Top (RTTT) and Common Core (CCSS) programs a plethora of stifling high- stakes standardized testing - often referred to as the “Duncan testocracy” - on the schools including the use of tests to assess teacher performance. His method of education reform has grossly neglected the impact of childhood poverty on learning for children from impoverished homes. This is what happens when you appoint an unqualified non-educator to the highest education position in the nation.
Likewise, Duncan has been a champion and spokesperson for the wealthy and powerful in the nation in their efforts to privatize public schools and to weaken and ultimately destroy the teaching profession. Duncan’s affiliation with Bill Gates is a prime example. The Obama administration with its “Race To The Top” program has been a continuation of the war on teachers that began when George W. Bush was president with his “No Child Left Behind” testing fiasco. Anyone who denies this extended war on teachers is either a silly, inexperienced fool or a paid shill for the corporate reformers and the testing industry.
Based on the early polling, it appears that Hillary Clinton is a clear frontrunner who more than likely could become the next president of the United States. If she is able to attain the highest office in the country, we need to begin a grassroots movement to convince her to appoint an educator to the position of Secretary of Education. Hillary Clinton has been an advocate of universal pre-kindergarten, arts education in the schools, after-school tutoring as well as smaller class sizes and educators now need to convince her of the need to also be an advocate for a diminishing role of standardized testing in public education. There is no guarantee, however, that Hillary the politician will not follow in the footsteps of her predecessor, President Obama, as she, and especially her husband, former Badass Teachers Association: