Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hasta La Vista Arne! Duncan’s Failed Education Legacy | The Progressive

Hasta La Vista Arne! Duncan’s Failed Education Legacy | The Progressive:

Hasta La Vista Arne! Duncan’s Failed Education Legacy

As the Obama administration winds down, it’s only natural that some officials make their legacy statements. So here comes former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to sum up what, exactly, we have to show for his eight years in office. This may seem like a pointless exercise, but as we move into the Trump-DeVos era, looking at all the targets that Duncan and the current Education Secretary John “Duncan Lite” King set up, shot at, and missed can help us understand where we are.
For those of us who have been following him, Duncan’s narrative was familiar; (you can find similar bits and pieces in his 2010 UNESCO speech). Here’s the gist:
U.S. schools are failing and lying about it—telling students they’re doing well when they aren’t. The answer is national standards to create a uniform data base that would let us measure every student against every other student. That, in turn, would let us find all the great teachers. (And then we will move those teachers around so that all students have access to them). Meanwhile, we will foster the growth of a charter school industry which will foster laboratories of innovation, creating whole new methods of teaching. We’ll get things started early,with pre-K schooling, building an all-inclusive cradle-to-career pipeline, and turn the education system into a lean, efficient machine for cranking out super-duper citizens, who will make the nation so competitive that their educated awesomeness will erase poverty.
Now let’s look at Duncan’s self-proclaimed list of achievements:
  • Most states have higher learning standards and better assessments.
The dream of unified national standards, measured by uniform national standardized tests, is dead. The Common Core has gone into hiding, afraid to even speak its own name, and the national testing framework is a shambles.
  • We have more children in early learning programs.
As of 2014, only around five states have more than 50 percent enrollment in pre-K. And we have no idea how good any of these programs are. Meanwhile, K-2 programs increasingly cut critical play and recess time for inappropriate academic learning. Duncan also cheers the fact that test scores are up in lower grades; he does not talk about what it has cost to raise those Hasta La Vista Arne! Duncan’s Failed Education Legacy | The Progressive:

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