No seat at the table...

 People back peddle when they say the wrong things and try to save face. Arne Duncan and his corporate education privatization crew really thought that it would be easy to get "white suburban moms" and suburban parents of all colors to jump on their band wagon of low test scores = your kids, their schools, and their teachers are failing & you should want charter schools. This is evident as the Governor of NY created a low cut score (AKA passing score) in the spring of 2013 that was meant to sway the public that their schools and teachers stink. 70% of the kids in the entire state failed the Common Core aligned tests. I blogged about it here. But parents are so much smarter than they give us credit for.

In a staged interview, teacher Lisa Clarke gives Duncan a chance to spin the truth in a DOE series called:
Ask Arne...

"Lisa Clarke:
When individual philanthropists like Bill Gates or Eli Broad give donations do they earn a seat at the table making decisions with you?
Arne Duncan:
I have tremendous respect for them and am thrilled that they have given -- lots of other places they could choose to put their dollars. The fact that they are trying to help education is a very positive thing. But no, it doesn't give them a seat at the table. You guys are at the table. But again, having people who have been successful come back and give back and be part of the solution is really important."

 Anthony Cody, Education Week blogger writes
"Arne Duncan acts as if none of this has any impact. As if teachers have a larger say in education policy than Bill Gates, who is just offering a helpful hand with no strings attached. This is not just a seat at the table. The Gates Foundation has set the table, and decided on the menu. The people seated at whatever table the Department of Education produces for photo opportunities or interviews such as this are not the real decision-makers."

We know being a spin doctor is one of the common state standards for politicians. And it is those who seem to be spinning repeatedly whom we need to watch most carefully.
Mr. Duncan, although you get so many opportunities to "re-take the test," you keep failing with half-truths and misinformation. As you are not an elected official, we are forced to keep reading and hearing your spin. That said, some folks think that if you had to write a persuasive essay supporting your own perspective with facts & evidence from the text (respected & peer-reviewed research), you would score below basic and immediately be put into a remedial class. Oops, that means you lose a study hall. How will you ever learn?

Bill Gates addresses the state legislators in this video using the jargon d'jour:
"state led, clear, rigorous standards..."

Cody also reports: 

"The Gates Foundation offered assistance to states in filling out the complex Race to the Top applications, but only if the states agreed to the following:
Has your state signed the MOA regarding the Common Core Standards currently being developed by NGA/CCSSO? [Answer must be "yes"]"

Looks like Gates had a head seat at the table.

Must have been cozy up there with just two out of 3.3 million public school teachers in the United States. This is why we need our politicians to think back to their math classes...
2 out of 3.3 million isn't a representative sample and makes no statistical sense in a persuasive argument, but what ever. Parents & the general public will believe it if two teachers are filmed interviewing Mr. Duncan. And those two teachers won't stir things up at the table, teachers are used to eating fast during their half hour lunches.



    No seat at the table?

  2. Wow, it's lovely to read the thoughts of someone who can see through all the pretty, shiny mud Duncan surrounds himself with. All those lovely swirls make it difficult to peer into what he's really doing or saying.

    I had a lovely experience "at the table" with Mr. Duncan in 2010. In fact, it was me and 50 other Moms as part of the very first Mom Congress on Education (organized by the now defunct Parenting Magazine and Georgetown University). The dog and pony show was supposed to be a town hall meeting with the Mom Congress, Mr. Duncan, and a whole bunch of people from the DC and surrounding areas. They put 51 Moms up on a stage - and unbeknownst to me, pre-selected 4 delegates to ask pre-screened questions. They bused in a room full of people who mistakenly thought they were going to get to stand at a mic and ask old Arnie about his education policy and where was the money?

    As he talked about "increased parental engagement/involvement" he mentioned that there are no studies that tell us how to get parents involved (I could have told him how, but then I wasn't one of the delegates pre-selected... but I digress). Then he made this grandiose statement about how he was going to increase funding for parent engagement from 1% of the budget to 2% to be administered in grants and dependent upon evidence-based plans. All the Mom Congress delegates clapped, the audience clapped and cheered - I had to clap my hand over my mouth to keep from shouting something very profane and un-Mother-like. WHAT??? I shouted in my brain? YOU JUST SAID there is NO EVIDENCE - but you're going to double your funding for NOTHING?

    Mr. Duncan took the four nicely packaged questions from the Mom Congress delegates all on topics he could answer and had probably prepared in advance (I daresay he wouldn't have wanted to have a battle of wits with me and expect to stay on his feet) and then the audience lined up at the mic. The line stretched around the room! It was glorious. And then an aide mentioned that the Secretary was out of time - only had time for ONE question from the audience (remember, that BIG crowd of people they bussed in?). She asked her question, tried to ask a follow-on and was shut down. Then Arnie spent 30 minutes getting his picture taken and the audience all got nice SWAG bags of goodies from some of the Mom Congress sponsors.

    Me and a couple of the other Mom Congress delegates who were just as outraged by the treatment of these parents and grandparents as they were - went out into the halls and talked with them. We handed out business cards - asked them to email and contact us and promised to help get their messages across. And we followed through.

    Mr. Duncan is a disgusting slimy Chicago politician. When is someone going to forego calling him on the carpet and start looking at what's under it?

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I know others who say Duncan is quite charming in person, but I agree he is the poster child for doublespeak. If you are on facebook, check out Parents Across America - Suburban Philadelphia. They could use someone like you!


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