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Arne Duncan Skepticism…

May 18, 2011

Following up on my previous Duncan post is this one.  I was directed to this HuffingtonPost article on the backlash towards Duncan and his now infamous letter which has been derided as insincere and full of hypocrisy.

Arne Duncan Skepticism: Teachers Question U.S. Education Secretary’s Respect For Them


It may be Teacher Appreciation Week, but if online comments and blog posts indicate anything, some public school teachers don’t feel the love from their employer, the federal government.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan penned an open letter to teachers, published in Education Week and on the Department of Education website, expressing his thoughts about why educators “deserve to be respected, valued and supported.”

But many teachers weren’t moved. “If you truly hear us, you’ll recognize the fact that we are not opposed to honing our craft in ways that foster student learning for all students,” one educator, who identified herself as “Tracie,” wrote in the comments below the letter.

In his note, Duncan wrote that No Child Left Behind legislation prompted schools to teach to the test and narrow curricula, that teachers “are not afraid of hard work,” that expectations for teachers have become higher.

“You want real feedback in a professional setting rather than drive-by visits from principals or a single score on a bubble test,” he wrote, acknowledging teachers’ complaints that the Duncan/Obama administration has been too much testing and too much emphasis on judging educators by test scores.

Outlining his hopes for the future, Duncan added:

Working together, we can transform teaching from the factory model designed over a century ago to one built for the information age. We can build an accountability system based on data we trust and a standard that is honest—one that recognizes and rewards great teaching, gives new or struggling teachers the support they need to succeed, and deals fairly, efficiently, and compassionately with teachers who are simply not up to the job. With your input and leadership, we can restore the status of the teaching profession so more of America’s top college students choose to teach because no other job is more important or more fulfilling.

As secretary, Duncan has championed top-down reform efforts embraced by the business sect, such as rapid closure of failing schools; the creation of charter schools; and teacher accountability based on test scores. Vocal educators oppose such means, saying they don’t address the heart of the problem.

My suggestion would be to check out this article and read some of the comments…not too good for Mr. Duncan.


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