"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, April 2, 2012

Arne Duncan's Education Reform = Doublespeak Nonsense

Following yesterday's April Fool's posting comes a tongue in cheek, yet serious post on the education reforms set forth by Arne Duncan and the DOEd and how they impact education.  The author sets forth a much different scenario than does Arne Duncan.  While he states this reform is America's blueprint for educational success, this is not the belief of the blog writer; she believes this system is designed to fail.

 The only suggestion I would make would be the revision of opening sentence.  Instead of "don't panic"....it should read:

"We have a crisis on multiple levels!  We need a dramatic change!" (quote from Arne Duncan)  This cry is the permission (apparently circumventing legislative approval on the federal and state levels) for this administration to put forward reforms including mandates that are unconstitutional, unproven, untested and unfunded.

In the video below, Duncan states the US became complacent and this is the reason for our drop in global test results.  Maybe the US educational system became so top heavy with mandates and unrealistic goals for testing results, the education system stopped innovative growth and became stagnant.  Duncan even talks about having to sue the DOEd when he was in Chicago because of the "top heavy" mandates.  So what does he do?  Establish even more mandates and Federal control!  (Maybe we're in a perpetual April Fool's Day mode).

From  policy.mic and "If You're Designing a Nation and Want it to Fail, Follow America's Education System":


Don't panic. To err a nation, please pay close attention and follow the steps described below:

1. Design a No Child Left Behind program to standardize students’ academic achievement to minimal skills. Make unrealistic “measurable goals” and punish schools failing to do this task properly by gradually redistributing marginalized, low-performing populations (especially black and Latino) so that they learn the lesson. In the process, close schools to punish the poor so that they are twice as likely to go to the overcrowded ones.

2. If that is not enough to homogenize the system, cut funding for programs for the gifted so that they drop out the same rates as the normal kids.

3. Privatize education. Give states incentives to give teachers bonuses and open charter schools with a Race to the Top program so that the ones behind are where they should be: behind. That way, you can also be segregated without segregation since it so happens that the schools behind are also those filled with the poor and minorities.

4. Now that you have homogenized those who go through the K-12 system to their lowest potential, shovel 70% of them to college and make sure they do not learn anything in their first two years. Noone will pay attention since college is all about 41 hours weekly of leisure activities and 8 hours of studying – just like a middle school student.

5. Inflate grading to meet the students where they are at, so that the difference between a 3.60 GPA and a 2.79 or lower GPA equates the difference of one hour studying.

6. Pretend that the top institutions embrace diversity and redress pass mistakes by admitting affluent, well-educated Nigerian students to create an illusion of affirmative action.

7. When someone realizes that only 46% of those enrolled in college actually graduate, lower than the former Soviet bloc country of Slovakia (Oh horror!), make a goal of producing 8 million college graduates by 2020. No one cares if you will meet your goal or not.

8. Now that you are on the way to underproduce 1 million college graduates in STEM fields, make the cost of education increase 50% in a decade. If students are indebted and cannot graduate, it does not matter because one third of those graduated would hold jobs that do not require one any way.

9. Since few realize how they have erred all along, the even better result is a generation of delusional optimists.

Arne Duncan's thoughts on education from Need to Know (PBS):

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