"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Are Arne Duncan's Remarks Regarding Jared Loughner An Example of Critical Thinking being Taught to Public Education Students?

This statement via The Washington Post, is from Arne Duncan, Secretary of the Department of Education, regarding the shootings in Arizona and the actions previously taken by Pima Community College where the shooter attended:

...Where violence becomes sort of part of the political dialogue, where you have lax gun laws, where you have folks that are mentally unstable, easy access to guns, I think that's a recipe for disaster."

Duncan is blaming this on political motives and lax gun laws. When these two scenarios are combined, he apparently believes this allows the opportunity for mentally ill people to kill others.

Is this all about lax gun laws and heated political rhetoric? The latest news I've read about Jared Loughner's background, his fascination with the congresswoman started in 2007, long before any "violent political dialogue". Read two comments from readers that question Duncan's statements and refer to "lax gun laws":

Even before the horror of Virginia Tech, which forced a complete rethinking of classroom safety, many college administrators and faculty devoted countless hours to discussions and strategies about how to help students in distress or who are disruptive or manifesting signs of mental illness. The ADA compels us to help and support students who are ill, including mental illness, and quite often, there's a judgment call involved in whether to summon help from campus security or campus health services. FERPA -- the privacy law --- also sometimes obscures the best answer to red flag misconduct.

This unbelievable tragedy in Arizona will force even more review of student rights, disciplinary and security procedures, and campus mental health services. Most certainly, we will also see an equal amount of deeply concerned discussion on the part of faculty members and campus leaders about the balance between access and safety when students manifest weird, bizarre, inappropriate or strange conduct that may not be a direct threat (hence, actionable) but that may be evidence of an unfolding mental health breakdown.

Colleges are largely open places where unusual behaviors often gain notice as the searching expressions of free spirits. Each tragic story moves the walls of that freedom a little bit closer to the real need for more control, firmer rules about conduct, and less blithe acceptance of behaviors that signal possible illness. We will continue to struggle with the balance among the competing values of privacy, freedom, security and access.

The second comment:

yep, the sheriff was certainly aware of the man.

guess what they're supposed to do with such info?

get it to the feds so the man cannot buy a gun.

failure of existing laws.

too bad the sheriff blew off the threat and referred to it as the "judges problem"

read the full story, get all the info.

This may be the full story the reader refers to in his/her posting that Pima Sheriff County Clarence Dupnik doesn't want to talk about and Arne Duncan is ignoring.

These readers question college policy and the police not following the law. The readers have a better grip on reality than Duncan. If institutions could effectively deal with disturbed students without legal ramifications (privacy concerns) and governmental authorities had done their jobs, perhaps a tragedy could have been avoided. For Duncan to blame it on heated political rhetoric and lax gun laws is a travesty.

Is Arne Duncan really the best person to head the Department of Education? Is political correctness overtaking common sense and critical thinking?


  1. This Administration, and the Democrat Party and press, have reached depths of depravity not seen in decades.

    After this week, no decent human being will associate with the Democrat Party.

    Thanks you, Gretchen, for this article.

  2. When it comes to mental health, perhaps the left if where we should focus our evaluations. Look at the Twitter comments collected by The Graph regarding the shooting. http://thegraph.com/2011/01/leftists-take-to-twitter-to-blamethreaten-beck-palin-and-tea-party-for-az-shooting/# On traditionally conservative sites all I saw was requests to pray for the families. On the left's sites the F bomb was far more prevalent than the P bomb.


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