Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

NCLB Outrages

Duncan: Margaret Spellings Cross-Dresser

by Susan Ohanian

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd says that Dick Cheney, with Donald Rumsfeld at his side, has grabbed a third term. Dowd is half-way kidding.

I'm not kidding when I say that Arne Duncan has decided to reinforce the Bush agenda in education. He is a Margaret Spellings cross-dresser, determined to beef up the Bush recipe: Just add rigor and stir things up a bit.

For just one example, take a look at the Business Week headline: The Obama Education Plan: Math, Science, and Rigor.

There's lots more. Put "Arne Duncan" and "rigor" into a Google search and you get 3,970 hits.

If you can stand it, here's David Brooks: As Education Secretary Arne Duncan told me, 'Weâve seen a race to the bottom. States are lying to children. They are lying to parents. Theyâre ignoring failure, and thatâs unacceptable. We have to be fierce.'"

Substance News provides a history of Duncan and rigor.

Reminder from Undernews: Why Arne Duncan Is a Terrible Choice for Education Secretary.

Nonetheless, Duncan sailed through the nomination hearings. Hugs all around, particularly from the Democrats.

Duncan is proving to be worse than feared. But don't blame Arne: it's part of the corporate-politico plan that has been very apparent since the 1980ies when the Business Roundtable went public with their plan. My oh my, I could say I told you so. . . in Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?

In a great stroke of irony, st his speech before Education Writers Association, Duncan, the master of half-truths and outright lies, provided the dictionary derivation for truth. He's never done the same for rigor.

1 a (1): harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity
(2): the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness
(3): severity of life : austerity b: an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty2: a tremor caused by a chill3: a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable; especially : extremity of cold
4: strict precision : exactness
5 rigidity, stiffness b: rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli c: rigor mortis

When teachers remain silent, history repeats itself--and the corporate education dogma rolls on and on.

Silence gives consent.

  • Remain silent now and children's lives in school will be further regimented and diminished.

  • Remain silent now and what remains of teacher professionalism will be obliterated.

  • Remain silent today and you will never forgive yourself tomorrow.

  • What you can do:

  • Print out The Petition and wave it in front of your Congressional representative, local newspaper editors, the PTA, your church, people in the park. Wave it in front of the president of your union.

  • Write letters and op eds to your local paper about one of the issues. Be brief. Include a poignant anecdote.

  • Enlist colleagues and Refuse to cooperate.

  • Subscribe to Substance News, the only newspaper of the resistance.

  • Join the Rouge Forum, the only organized education group in the US or
    North America that has the limited courage to say that bad schooling, capitalism, imperialism, and the emergence of fascism are related, and can be fought.

  • — Susan Ohanian



    This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.