From EduSanity comes a finely crafted response to last week’s attempts by Arne Duncan to belittle and denigrate his critics. Here is an excerpt:
In the “real world” Minister Duncan doesn’t even have a background in education. Duncan became CEO of the Chicago Public Schools because he’s from Chicago and played basketball with Barack Obama back in the day. He hasn’t taught a single public school child – rich or poor – in his life. It takes some serious gumption to stand on his soapbox filled with no experience and tell others like me what the “real world” of education is like.
Duncan then takes hypocrisy to all new heights when he accuses us of focusing on “false debates”, because as Education Secretary he doesn’t actually engage ANYBODY in a substantive debate. He appears on friendly television shows and fields softball questions from fawning reporters. He answers questions on Twitter for an hour each week – picking only those questions that allow him to spew his rhetorical propaganda while he ignores questions that require substance. He stands behind the podium and laughs like Baghdad Bob at the silliness of those who oppose him and the power of the federal government. He refuses to actually engage in any sort of substantive debate with anybody who is actually qualified to question his reforms. This I can promise you: Put Arne Duncan on camera with me and a moderator and this armchair pundit would make him look like Sarah Palin looking for Russia out her window. It will never happen.
Arne the Education Secretary is playing the role of Arne the politician. If you look at his quotes above with a critical rhetorical eye you will see that Arne is not trying to bring American citizens and American educators together, he is trying to divide us. Many of the so-called “armchair pundits” he is referring to are practicing classroom teachers. These are the “courageous” educators who risk their jobs to stand up to the classist, racist and divisive education policies that Duncan and his corporate cronies have foisted on American school children. These “armchair pundits” are busy filling backpacks with bags of cereal and granola bars on Friday afternoons because their students may not get a meal over the weekend. These “armchair pundits” know that poverty is not an excuse – it is a reason.