"Things that interfere with writing well: Earning a living, especially by teaching."

-William H. Gass

Thursday, January 01, 2009

arne duncan: please go back to playing basketball

The real education progressives aren't thrilled about Duncan, and neither am I. For those of us who feel that schools can't be pro-business and pro-military while still being pro-child, this guy is cause for serious concern.
Good article here...

And, an excerpt:

Duncan leaves his position in Chicago with quite a legacy. He used the punitive aspects of No Child Left Behind to close underperforming schools, mandate curricula, and fire entire school staffs based on standardized test scores. Working with the Commercial Club of Chicago, a group representing the city's wealthy businesses, Duncan headed a program called "Renaissance 2010," designed to close the most "underperforming" schools based strictly on test scores and open new charter schools in the same neighborhoods - neighborhoods also primed for gentrification. Some of Duncan's plans have been foiled by community advocacy groups, the only force willing to stand up against the collusion of government officials and corporate interests.

Over the past seven years, Duncan helped the city of Chicago open over 100 new schools (at least 84 charters run by Renaissance 2010 with 31 more planned), including the city's second Disney-run elementary school, 5 military academies with more in planning stages, for-profit schools, non-profit organizations receiving financial backing from "educational venture funds," and charter schools funded by big business (Boeing, Citigroup, Bank of America, Washington Mutual, and the Gates Foundation among others - all given corporate tax breaks, buyouts, and tax deductions that take money from our public schools). There are, undoubtedly, a number of remarkable charter schools in Chicago offering a high-quality education, but they are a small minority. However, since the beginning of his tenure in 2001, Chicago schools have become more segregated (in fact, America's schools are more segregated now than during 1954's landmark Brown vs. Board legislation) in part because of expanded charter schools.


Do we really want to send our kids to "Boeing Elementary?" At least for me, the answer is a resounding "fuck no."