In case you have not yet heard, U.S. “Education Secretary Arne Duncan [is] stepping down” from his President Obama-appointed post. As per an article in CNN: “President Barack Obama praised Arne Duncan’s service as secretary of education on Friday [October 2, 2015], hours after Duncan said he would step down in December. “He’s done more to bring our education system — sometimes kicking and screaming — into the 21st century more than anybody else…America is going to be better off for what he’s done.”
Is that a fact…
Obama continued that Duncan’s record is one “that I truly believe that no other education secretary can match…Arne bleeds this stuff. He cares so much about our kids. And he’s been so passionate about this work.”
See also other another article on Duncan’s resignation in The New York Times in which Duncan was positioned as “the subject of criticism from both parties, angering Democrats by challenging teachers’ unions and infuriating Republicans by promoting national academic standards.” See also other another article in The Washington Post.
Obama has selected Deputy Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. to replace him. As per The Washington Post, “King is a Brooklyn native who often credits teachers with guiding him toward a successful path after he was orphaned at age 12. A former charter school leader in Boston and New York, he joined the Education Department in January after a turbulent tenure as commissioner of education for the state of New York. In that role, he was a key architect of new teacher evaluations tied to test scores and played a key role in pushing New York to adopt new tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards years before other states did the same.
The Network for Public Education (NPE) announced their reaction to both Arne Duncan’s resignation and John King as Duncan’s replacement. “The Network for Public Education assigned an “F” to the selection of John King as a replacement to Arne Duncan,” who according to Diane Ravitch (among others) did more harm than good during his time in this position. Perhaps Obama’s remarks were not entirely on base.
Under Duncan’s (and Obama’s) watch, “The policies of the US Department of Education have inflicted immeasurable harm on American public education. The blind faith in standardized testing as the most meaningful measure of students, teachers, principals, and schools has distorted the true meaning of education and demoralized educators. Punitive policies have created teacher shortages across the nation, as well as a precipitous decline in the number of people preparing to become teachers. The Race to the Top preference for privately managed charter schools over public schools has encouraged privatization of a vitally important public responsibility.”
Regarding the appointment of King, The Executive Director of the NPE Fund and former New York State principal, Carol Burris, noted that, “John King’s tenure in New York State was a disaster [as] he alienated teachers, parents, and principals. He was the first Commissioner of Education in New York to receive a vote of ‘no confidence’ by the New York State Teachers Union, and referred to parents as ‘a special interest group.’ Not only was his implementation of the Common Core standards rushed and chaotic, but the horrific state exams that were given during his tenure resulted in over 200,000 students opting out of the exam last spring. It is difficult to imagine a worse choice to run the US Department of Education.”
To read more from the NPE click here.