Duncan's latest donut. He claims that kids drop out because school is 'too easy'
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." -- Mike TysonIn yesterday's Tribune op-ed piece, Arne Duncan jumps in behind Rahm Emanuel's call to make every kid "have a plan" and to make it more difficult for Chicago's predominantly students of color, to graduate from high school.
Neither Duncan nor the mayor are talking about increased school funding or a more rigorous curriculum, a term that is itself problematic, or anything to do with teaching/learning. Instead they want to use bureaucratic powers to force students to get letters, proving that they've been accepted into college, a job, the military or some other program before receiving a diploma. They both are assuming of course that there are jobs and affordable college seats waiting to accept them. That's quite an assumption in these times.
I'm not sure what that would mean for students who want to travel to Europe or Africa, write a novel, paint a masterpiece or drive a cab.
As Dewey once said: "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself" (that's John Dewy, Arne. Not the admiral or Huey and Louie's brother). Duncan does allow for a "gap year" before college or military adventures in Syria (he himself avoided military service) but what about a gap two years? Or even a lifetime?
All this amounts to simply another top-down, unfunded mandate, reminiscent of Rahm's imposed longer school-day/school-year. Now, as budget realities set in, the mayor is threatening to shorten the school year by three or four weeks. I wonder who's going to keep track of and verify all those college acceptance and internship letters when they can't even afford to keep the schools open?
In his op-ed Duncan claims that students, "don't drop out because school is too hard. They drop out because it is too easy". This statement, coming from a non-educator who somehow was put Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Duncan's latest donut. He claims that kids drop out because school is 'too easy':