One of the longest serving cabinet members in the Obama administration, Arne Duncan, is stepping down.
Duncan, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009 as the Secretary of Education, was previously the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.
In 2007, when Duncan was the CEO of the school system with some of the highest paid teachers, the Chicago Public School system could hardly brag about district achievements. Only 21 percent of the district’s 8th graders were proficient in reading, and only 13 percent were on grade level in math.
I’m glad to see him go, but I don’t know that things will improve under the new guy. http://t.co/4RuxrzAc4D
— A.J. Wagner (@wagnerfordayton) October 2, 2015
The school children in the US, under Duncan’s leadership, have not fared much better; and some believe his policies have actually harmed the nation’s schoolchildren.
“The record will show these policies brought about minimum improvement…They also did considerable harm,” said Jack Jennings, founder of the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy
In typical administration fashion where, perceivably, the rules don’t seem to apply, Duncan began excusing US states from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law of 2001. States were given exemptions, called “waivers,” from the requirements of the law.
One attempt by Duncan to use student test scores to identify poor teachers was rejected in some states. This created mistrust of the administration. For states to get their waiver from the NCLB Act, they would have to comply with Duncan’s demands, in a sort of strong arm fashion.
While the Obama administration and Arne Duncan could not take direct responsibility for the Common Core Curriculum Standards, they were seen as using the standards to lord it over the states. Those demands and others resulted in a pushback by states seeing the CCCS as “Obamacore.”
“I’ve never seen both Democrats and Republicans want to curb the authority of the federal Department of Education the way they want to now,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
@jeneps Duncan is the worst Obama appointment bar none. good riddance.
— Patrick Mauro (@PMIA7) October 2, 2015
While many state education leaders, districts, teachers and parents are likely glad to see Arne Duncan go, many more may be wondering how he got the job in the first place.
Do you think a CEO of a school system whose students cannot read and do math on grade-level should have ever gotten the nation’s highest position in education?