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[Susan notes: Among other things, this writer destroys Arne's sports analogy.



Thank you!]

Published in News Journal
07/09/2009

To the editor

Our new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, seems to be a take-charge kind of guy, who puts up with nothing less than his view of excellence. His readiness to close schools and revamp systems, which he declares to be "failures," has been his guiding principle since he became Chicago's education czar. His tendency to condemn by defining the debate in terms, which fit his arguments, is a splendid example of using a logical fallacy to turn an argument on its head.



Mr. Duncan is fond of pointing out that not linking student performance to teacher quality is the same as not looking at box scores to judge an athletic team. He might have considered that a professional would not infer the same things from box scores as an amateur. As he has never been on the field for Team Education, should we not doubt his judgment when reading school box scores?



In the end, Mr. Duncan's arguments are the same old tired talking points used by every bureaucrat who never taught a minute. His apple to oranges comparison of other nation's schools to America's is the argument of those who never understood the box scores. Neither his having played semi-pro basketball nor his Harvard Magna in sociology, qualify him to lead the cause of public education in America. His emphasis has always been political; he is the lap dog of Chicago's Mayor Daley, and his eye has always been toward the corporate boardroom; he sees himself as a CEO, not an educator.



William Cuthbert


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