Discover more from Fred Klonsky in Retirement
Arne Duncan wants to be the mayor of Chicago?
As the campaign gets into gear, I'll be reminding folks what a huckster he is.
Fred Klonsky in Retirement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Former Chicago CPS CEO and Obama Secretary of Education has been dropping major hints that he plans to run for chief executive of Chicago.
He and his old comrade, Paul Vallas, have decided the way to go after the current Mayor Lori Lightfoot is on crime.
Vallas has become a clone of Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara.
And Duncan wants us to forget his education record. Actually they both do.
Vallas has lost his various jobs as school superintendent on a regular basis. You could almost pick a school district out of a hat and Vallas has been in charge there and then been fired.
I’m guessing Duncan will get more votes than Vallas and there will be other candidates, mostly fighting with each other to be number two and make the runoff.
I’ll remind readers of Duncan’s Chicago schools history later.
Today I want to focus on his time at the Obama Department of Education.
Duncan may want us to think of him as a current day crime fighter and forget his time as being responsible for some of the worst education decisions ever.
The guy was so bad that I remember the time when I went to the NEA Representative Assembly and we passed a resolution called “13 Things We Hate About Arne Duncan.”
It is true that testing mania preceded Duncan as national education policy. President George W. Bush and Democrat Ted Kennedy created No Child Left Behind in 2002, creating a system of punishments for states, districts and schools whose students failed to make "adequate yearly progress" on annual tests. The law stated that all students everywhere must score "proficient" by 2014.
However, Duncan's Race To The Top initiative in 2009 provided money to states for tying test scores to teacher evaluations, further raising the stakes on high-stakes tests in a way that reached new levels of the absurd.
Teachers being evaluated on the test scores of students they never saw or taught.
Duncan defended annual testing, even as many of us were trying to explain that these tests had consequences, ranging from narrowing of the curriculum to the en masse closure of urban neighborhood schools to cheating scandals as seen in Atlanta.
Duncan’s Race to he Top continues to haunt us.
In order to qualify for a grant, Illinois had to have the General Assembly pass and the Governor sign a bill creating a one-size-fits-all teacher evaluation procedure that remains the law even though we didn’t get the grant and Duncan is long gone from the Department of Education.
In the district where I taught and where I was the union president we had constructed an effective performance review with teacher and union input and was part of our collectively bargained agreement with the board.
When then-governor Quinn signed the teacher evaluation bill, our process was deemed illegal.
There is more to the Arne Duncan story and education that he would like us to forget as he gears up for a mayoral run.
I will be writing more just to remind everyone what a huckster he is.