Susan Ohanian is an invaluable resource for 'critical' educators and sympathetic readers. A recent e-mail contained reference to but no link to the following deposition by the editor at the blog Black Agenda Report, and this exquisite take-down of the Obama "Education Reform" team. He's done so well with health insurance, climate policy, pursuit of Bushevik war-criminals, ending our wars and boosting the economy, I guess we should just "trust him" to do the right thing for schools, right? (face-palm, face-palm, face-palm...)
Quite separately from each other, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich have long ago forfeited whatever credibility they may once have had. Taken together, they are simply a bad joke: three grown men publicly eye-poking and slap fighting each other while they all come together to sell us high-stakes testing, charter schools, educational privatization and the whole package of corporate “school reform.”Expanding on that theme, Danny Weill, of Dissident Voice, criticizes the game and castigates the players:
Duncan, of course, is spearheading the campaign to sell the charter school snake oil to the public. It’s like an old traveling medicine show equipped with elixirs and potions for every ailment but Duncan’s the guy with the bankroll, the go to guy. He has close ties to billionaires: Eli Broad, Gates, the Walton family and other philanthropic interests who have for years looked forward to this moment to step in and control the design and organizational structure of American education. Maybe while he's in Los Angeles, where 250 schools were simply given over to "outside operators" he'll find a little time away from his soap box tour to spend a few minutes at the Eli Broad Superintendents Academy that prepares non-educators like Duncan for Superintendent positions in urban schools while the Broad Foundation trains works side by side with 'associates' of skilled executives in various fields for leading urban school systems (School Administrator, August 2007). There, he can listen to the voices of experienced, proven leaders from business, military, civic and government sectors sharing ideas with their non-educator counterparts on how to privatize and reform education. Even Newt and Sharpton might enjoy the challenge.It's worth remembering that Duncan, a hoops-playing, wealthy, aristocratic FOO, has never spent even an HOUR employed as a teacher. He's a lawyer, ceo, and entrepeneur. It is endlessly debatable whether those are the best qualifications for the chief educational policy maker in the country.
I come down for: NOT! If he was gonna choose a white male, there were so many other, better choices--for education, if not for commerce and profit wrenched from the public teat.
*MCLB = More Children Left Behind