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Arne is Leaving; Obama's Choice Reveals Contempt for Teachers


by Susan Ohanian

I responded on Twitter to a news flash from the New York Times:


Arne Duncan, Education Secretary, to Step Down in December

Can Obama make a worse choice than Arne?

Yep

To quote the New York Times:
"The president has decided to name John B. King Jr., the deputy secretary of education, to replace Mr. Duncan to lead the Department of Education." Thus President Obama shows his contempt for teachers by choosing an ed bureaucrat who already provoked a no confidence vote from teachers.

Mike Klonsky offers some interesting speculation from Chicago: Did Duncan just feather his nest in Chicago?

We could hope that some reporters and op ed people at The Times might read a few of the comments the Times selected as "Times Picks."
Reader Comment: Not sure which one is worse, Arne Duncan or John King. Besides being an educator (university-level) horrified by their policies from a professional perspective, I'm also a NYC public school parent. I thought it was bad enough that there is no escape from Duncan/King's corporatized vision of 'education' in the NYC public school system. Now there will be no escape anywhere in the country. It's getting bad enough to make me reconsider my views on local school control.

Reader Comment:...Secretary Duncan is the component of Obama's psyche that I'm not a fan of -- the part that's technocratic and Spock-like, the part that believes an Excel spreadsheet can communicate nuance, subtlety, and humanity. Watching Arne Duncan reminds me of watching Richard Nixon in the first presidential debate against John Kennedy -- he smiles and sounds reasonable, but beneath the exterior thereΓΆ€™s something unsettling about the man. You just can't trust him....
Here are a couple of the "Readers Picks":
If you were fired as a superintendent in Florida you get to become Commissioner of Education in New York. If you were responsible for the disastrous implementation of the Common Core Curriculum in New York and you were additionally so dismissive of comments from teachers AND administrators AND parents that you could not even hold public meetings because of the anger and frustration your actions created, you get to become Secretary of Education.

Reader Comment: As an educator in New York for the past 25 years, I can honestly say John King was the worst education commissioner New York has had during that time. I am very sad to hear that he is becoming the Education Secretary for our country.

Reader Comment: A dark day for education. If there is anyone who can carry the banner of the Education-Industrial Complex with greater enthusiasm than Mr. Duncan, it is Mr. Mr. King. They are popping corks at Pearson Education!

Here's the word on Arne's replacement from people who know John King up close and personal: New York State Allies for Public Education: It isn't pretty.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 2, 2015
More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Steps Down --New Yorkers Declare John King No Better

The announcement of John King to replace Arne Duncan as US Education Secretary is bad news for the nation, according to NYS Allies for Public Education, a coalition of more than 50 parent and educator groups throughout the state.

"Throughout his term in New York, John King was notorious for his complete disconnect from parents, teachers, and school officials. His blatant disregard for concerned parents and educators fueled opt outs to historic numbers. Our only hope is that this bizarre move by the White House will have the same effect across the country, spreading the Opt Out movement to every corner of the nation," said Jeanette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out.

"Former NYS Commissioner of Education John King helped create an educational disaster for New York and our children are still feeling the devastating effects," said Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County public school parent and co-founder of NYSAPE.

"John King was relentless in pushing the inappropriate Common Core standards, flawed curriculum, defective exams, and an invalid teacher evaluation system on our schools, all of which caused more than 200,000 parents to opt out of the state exams last spring," said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent.

"King was a catastrophe as New York's Education Commissioner. Throughout his administration, his policies were on a constant collision course with parents, teachers and good sense," said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent and teacher.

Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, and co-chair of the Parent Coalition to Protect Student Privacy explained, "John King stubbornly refused to listen to concerns of parents, superintendents, and legislators on the need to protect student privacy, and under his leadership, New York was the only state in the country in which it took an act of the Legislature to compel the state to pull out of inBloom."

Marla Kilfoyle, a teacher and public school parent on Long Island, pointed out: "King left in disgrace in December 2014, with no political capital remaining and few supporters left. A year before the state's teachers voted 'no confidence' in him and called for his removal by the Board of Regents."

"The fact that Obama would choose to double-down on the test-driven agenda that King espoused, when polls show voters rejecting these policies in increasing numbers, indicates just how unwilling this administration has been to acknowledge the depth of parents' opposition to Common Core and high-stakes testing," said Nancy Cauthen, NYC parent from Change the Stakes.

Jessica McNair, Oneida County public school parent and educator concluded, "This new distressing development makes it even more important that NCLB must be revamped as soon as possible by Congress to take power out of the hands of the Department of Education. Otherwise, John King will continue to wreak damage on our public school children and their schools."
-- See more at: http://www.nysape.org/nysape-duncan-king-response.html#sthash.PgJURnUy.dpuf

— Susan Ohanian & New York State Allies for Public Education
Press Release

2015-10-02


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