Klonsky and Meier on Arne Duncan

    From Susan Ohanian

    Obama’s Choice for Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, Seen as Compromise Between Divided Strands

    by Mike Klonsky and Deborah Meier

    Democracy Now


    Susan says:
    There is a lot of game-playing and positioning in this discussion. Is Mike Klonsky keeping his options open, or what? Duncan as a "centrist" candidate when he says?

    I think Arne Duncan has the potential to be a good Secretary of Education, and I
    think he has some real positives going for him.

    Read Henry Giroux and Kenneth Saltman on Duncan's corporate brand of schooling and Obama's betrayal of public schools.

    After reading Susan's comments I took a good look at what Deb Meier said. Read it all but here are just a few words and though I think she is being careful, she makes some important points:

    So, first of all, I think we’re—it’s not two sides. It’s sort of a—it’s different views about the purpose of education, and there are different views about how human beings learn well. And I think there’s a very predominant view right now that gets—has been called by the name of reform and that has nothing to do with red and blue. It’s a kind of market view of education, though. And I
    think there are a lot of people on the red side who are more close to my views and a lot of people of the blue side who are more close to Arne Duncan’s views. And that part does worry me, maybe even more than it does Klonsky, my friend Mike Klonsky, because it’s—I think we need a different discussion about what the point of education is.

    [O]nce you’ve posed the issue as being union lackeys or reformers—and the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, a variety of magazines, as you mentioned earlier, have said there are two sides: unions lackeys, people who want to—who are worrying—you know, who are dependent upon the union, and on the other side are real reformers. I think it made it hard for the union to speak for its own membership on this question. And the history of reform has almost nothing to do—I shouldn’t say that. There has always been a struggle between these two wings in reform. But they have posed me as an anti-reformer, as though there are—since I’m not for market-style reforms, this testing mania, this narrow focus on prepping kids for a small selection of skills, that makes me a dupe of the union and an anti-reformer and someone who doesn’t care for the future of the economy or democracy. I think it’s been posed that way for so many years now.

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