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Huffington Post Protects Arne Duncan Again

Dear Susan Ohanian,

We appreciate you taking the time to submit your most recent post. Unfortunately, we are going to pass on it for publication at this time, and will look forward to your next submission.

Huffington Post blog team

Below you can see what was submitted. Go figure.

by Susan Ohanian

How Can We Tell When Arne is Lying?

George Schmidt, longtime Chicago educator and publisher of Substance, the only education newspaper of the resistance, alerted us early on about Arne Duncan's mendacity:
Q. "How do you know when Arne Duncan is lying? "
A. "When he opens his mouth."

I learned the truth of this when I decided to fact-check Duncan's July 2008 testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor. This testimony is important because it was designed to position the then-Chicago public schools CEO Arne Duncan as the chief of the Reform Model that Barack Obama would certify as the national plan for school reform.

Remember disgraced Secretary of Education Rod Paige, George Bush, and the Houston model? Noted education historian Diane Ravitch calls the current Obama/Duncan education policy Bush 3.

Certainly, there are lots of similarities in the misrepresentations, exaggerations, and downright lies offered by both US Secretaries of Education. And there's one huge difference: U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been handed a money pot exceeding all dreams of previous U. S. Secretaries of Education. And of course, money doesn't just talk; it shouts and gains immediate apostles, willing to shake the tambourine for The Way. Certainly state governors and commissioners of education are rushing to jump whichever way Arne says. Local decision making for schools be damned. Just ship in the cash.

Nothing short of a massive uprising of parents and teachers will stop what Henry Giroux and Kenneth Saltman call "the market-based and penal model of pedagogy," which has been in the works ever since Arkansas governor Bill Clinton teamed up with IBM CEO Lou Gerstner to bring home the education standardization bacon for George Bush the Elder. It translates to <'>whatever the Business Roundtable wants, the Business Roundtable gets.

Money suddenly makes those corporate dreams real. The tales Arne spun to the Congressional committee back in 2008, which out and out contradicted the facts of the matter, have served as beacons for school reform in media headlines ever since, proving that much of the media is both gullible and lazy in its coverage of education.

Arne Lie 1: In Chicago, virtually every important indicator of progress is moving in the right direction: test scores, attendance, and graduation rates. We're on a winning streak. In 2001, less than 40 percent of our kids met state standards. Today, almost two thirds do and more than two-thirds of our 8th graders are at or above state standards.

FACT CHECK: Miami, Houston and New York had higher scores than Chicago on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Boston, San Diego and Atlanta had bigger gains. Even fourth-graders in the much-maligned D.C. schools improved nearly twice as much since 2003.
--Washington Post,
FACT CHECK: Of the remaining nine cities in the NAEP trials, only Cleveland and the District of Columbia, both under mayoral control, showed less growth for black eighth-graders. For Latino eighth graders in Chicago, the 8% proficient or better in math in 2003 rose to 12% in 2007. Among the other nine cities studied, only Charlotte and New York showed less growth. Moreover, gaps in achievement between black and white students and between Latino and white students were large (25% of white eighth-graders scored at or above proficient, with 4% of black and 8% of Latino eighth-graders at those levels), and they grew between 2003 and 2007 for grades 4 and 8.--Gerald Bracey, The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education 2009, November 2009

FACT CHECK: Both Bloomberg/Klein and Daley/Duncan have touted rising state test scores as proof of their success. But analysts in both cities have shown that the rises only show how easy it is to manipulate test scores. In New York, a narrow range of standards is tested and the content from year to year is highly predictable. In Illinois, the state made it easier for systems to meet the standards with new item formats and lower passing scores.--Gerald Bracey, "Mayoral Control of Schools The New Tyranny," Huffington Post, July 21, 2009

FACT CHECK: On July 11, 2006, Mayor Daley pointed to the surging test scores and said "With these results, it's clear we are on our way to becoming the best urban school district in the nation." This prompted the editorial writers at the Chicago Tribune, to declare that "They must be teaching some new kind of fuzzy math at Chicago Public Schools" and to point out that the state board had lowered the passing score for eighth-grade math from the 67th percentile to the 38th.--Gerald Bracey, The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education 2009, November 2009

For Arne Lies 2--5 go to Fact Checking Arne Duncan Could Prove to Be a Full-Time Job.

There, you will also find the documentation for these other Duncan distinctions, all based on statements made to the House Committee on Education and Labor:

  • Research on harm-to-children-be-damned Award

  • Keep 'em in school 24/7 Notice

  • Deviation from Script Death Penalty

  • Train 'Em Young So Poor Kids Can Continue to Die for a Nation Always at War Imperative

  • Paul Bremer Viceroy Award

  • Start the Brainwashing at Birth Imperative

  • Bring in the Generals and Accountants Trained by the Broad Foundation Initiative

  • Teachers in Chicago Competing with Teachers Near Urbana-Champaign Sprint Run-Offs

  • Performance-based compensation/Union Sell-Out Gold Star Award

  • Suck-up to Corporate-Politico Power Award

  • In short, Duncan has $100 billion in his pocket--to make every school in the nation look like Chicago's schools. Central to this plan is "school turnaround," which means stripping schools of everyone with a history of the students, the neighborhood, the community--not to mention basic pedagogical underpinnings-- and bringing in inexperienced staff who have decided to add a couple of years of teaching to their resumes and who are willing to follow a script. State politicos and money-hungry school districts don't give a fig that education has long been regarded as a sacred province of local decision-making. They're too busy screaming, "Send us the money!"

    Take note of the sheer bureaucracy involved: The New York Times reported that a state education department puts in about 681 hours to fill out Duncan's Race to the Top application form.

    And be aware of the insidious influence of vulture philanthropy: Ever ready to lend a helping hand to the corporate-politco agenda, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering money to some states judged "worthy" to help them fill out Arne's Race to the Top applications. The idea here is that Gates can help worthy states be more competitive. Matt Taibbi's description in Rolling Stone of Goldman Sachs, the world's most powerful investment bank as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money" comes to mind. Taibbi points out that Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression. Plenty of school teachers know that the Gates Foundation, along with the Broad Foundation, is doing the same thing with schools.

    Truth in Disclosure: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not judge my own state of Vermont worthy of Race to the Top application help and turned down our plea for money to hire the consulting firm of Alvarez and Marsal for advice in filling out the Race to the Top application form. Because of this Gates turndown, Vermont is not going to apply for Round 1 Race to the Top Funds but wait for Round 2.

    Thank god! This gives us in Vermont a little breathing room. Not much. Duncan's money pot, that great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, still beckons.

    — Susan Ohanian
    Rejected by Huffington Post




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