Arne Duncan (after hanging out with the Mayor of Toronto smoking from a mysterious pipe)
Unless you live under rock, if you follow education issues at all you no doubt heard this latest pearl of wisdom from the head of the US Department of Education.
“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said, according to an account from Politico. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, `My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”
My first thought when I heard this was that Arne Duncan was trying to make sure the US Department of Education gets eliminated. I certainly expect this comment, combined with his other policies and epic overreach into local matters, will land eliminating the US department of Education front and center in the 2016 Presidential election.
In response to this a petition was launched on the Official White House website to call for Duncan’s removal: “This clearly demonstrates the complete lack of understanding he has and his utter contempt for the American people. He is both unqualified and unfit to lead the Department of Education and should be removed immediately.”
A group Facebook group called MAD, or Mother’s Against Duncan, also immediately formed. As of 11/19/13 at 10:30, a little more than 24 hours after the comments this site had over 3000 members . . . and growing.
When I had a little time to contemplate what Duncan said a few things occurred to me. He really, honestly thinks this is all about test scores. In his twisted world, kids and parents don’t exist as consierations, and learning is little more than a number of trend-line on a chart. The only learning and education that matters to him is one that can be measured, and he actually thinks everyone else thinks this way too. He has surrounded himself with people that think this, and insulated himself form the public, from parents, children and from learning. He can’t even comprehend that anyone might not give a damn about his ridiculous tests (that really do a better job identifying poor or mentally disabled students than they do “good” or “bad” schools or teachers.)
Perhaps it is time to show them how little we think about their tests and that our chief concern is not whether some highly paid educrat awards my school an “A” or “B” (while 40% of the students may be performing below grade level), but whether my child is learning and enjoying his school experience. I’m not sure about you, but my chief concern for my first grader and preschooler is not whether they score well enough on a color naming or counting test to get into a good ivy league school or rewarding career as a proctologist. I’m more concerned if my daughter’s friends like her or bully her, that she is safe and healthy, that she behaves well for her teacher and shows a good example for other kids, enjoys her recess and some fresh air, and has fun learning and growing not just math and reading (which she loves) but art, science, history and foreign languages. I want her education to be one of a wealth of opportunities and joy without the pressure of a career peering over her shoulder and monkeying around on her back. There will be time enough for that in second grade and the rest of her life, I’m sure.
The second thing that occurred to me is that this truly shows just how much Duncan has pushed and owned Common Core. Despite what your local school board or legislature has told you about how the federal government has little to do with Common Core, we have this racist, arrogant and dismissive comment from Duncan that reveals the truth. Let there be no mistake. Duncan was THE driving force behind Common Core. Gates put up hundreds of millions of dollars to promote it, but Arne Duncan put up billions, and he’ll be damned if you white suburban moms think you can derail his master plan with your pitiful concerns about your children and their learning.
Duncan has since tried to do some damage control.
In an interview with Politico, Duncan later acknowledged he “didn’t say it perfectly.”
What he really meant to say was “No stupid ditzy stay-at-home soccer moms (regardless of their color or nationality) are going to derail one of my signature education masterpieces, Common Core. I spent billions dollars on this shiznat, and had to listen to Bill Gates tell me 100s of stories about how he cured malaria in Africa and how he should have destroyed Apple when he had the chance to get his support so it wouldn’t look like the federal government was illegally pushing a national curriculum. Melinda wouldn’t stop showing me that stupid paperclip assistant “Clippy” she invented. They even have bedspreads with that guy on it! I even had to change the meaning of the fricken word curriculum and get everyone to call these standards! Let’s see you change the meaning of word and break federal laws . . . stupid moms, of many races, creeds, colors and religions whom I despise and hold contempt for equally!”
Thank you for clearing that up for us, Arne.
I’m sure you will enjoy the private sector (working for your true masters Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates) much more anyways.
Say “Hi” to Clippy for me!