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Tag Archives: Arne Duncan

What Arne Duncan Did to Your Kid

Retiring Education Secretary Arne Duncan is nothing less than the poster boy for President Barack Obama’s determination to inflict as much centralized government on Americans as possible.

Duncan, who announced Friday he’ll step down in December, decreed what is effectively a national education standard — the much-reviled “Common Core” — before anyone really understood what was happening. Neither Congress nor state legislatures had much of a say.

Even as Obama early in his first term was noisily realizing the liberal dream of universal health care, Duncan was quietly, and swiftly, doing something similar with education.

Duncan, in collusion with billionaire Bill Gates, whose foundation was spending millions in support of Common Core, pressed states to act quickly on the program. Duncan dangled billions from the 2009 stimulus before the states, handing them cash if they quickly adopted the standards.

“Because of the way education policy is generally decided, the Common Core was instituted in many states without a single vote taken by an elected lawmaker,” the liberal Washington Post reported last year. “It was a clever way around federal laws that prohibit Washington from interfering in what takes place in classrooms … The movement grew so quickly and with so little public notice that opposition was initially almost nonexistent.”

Meantime, in a brutal, backhanded federal power grab, Duncan offered to exempt states from onerous requirements in the No Child Left Behind law and its test-driven education standards if they instituted Common Core.

By 2010, the program had been adopted nearly nationwide. Critics say the standards were jammed into place without sufficient testing or proof that they would work. In effect, Duncan has made guinea pigs of your kids, as he and Gates gamble that the new standards will have a positive effect.

Two years ago, Duncan offered up some contempt and racial profiling in his criticism of those who questioned Common Core:

“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”

The comment raises questions about whether part of Duncan’s motivation is a typical left-wing desire to artificially equalize society.

When Obama said just before Election Day in 2008 that he was on the cusp of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” he wasn’t kidding.

He pushed through sweeping change in the most fundamental areas of our life — education, environmental standards (for greenhouse gas emissions) and health care — while attempting to unilaterally legalize millions of illegal immigrants. In three of four of these areas, he moved without the cooperation of Congress.

The animating force behind such thinking is the presumption of liberals that they are smarter than everyone else and know what’s best for people. Annoying matters such as the Constitution and democratic values are to be discarded if necessary to save the rest of us dummies from ourselves.

Arne Duncan was one of those who knew best. His legacy for your children or grandchildren is a wholesale change in the way they must learn — and a government with greater purview over their lives and one that cares less about what they think.

This piece originally appeared in PoliZette.

Carney: “I Haven’t Seen Arne’s Full Comments”

Oh please. Somebody get me out of Washington. Does anyone have a room for rent in Nebraska?

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Monday showcased one typical Washington way not to answer a question: Profess ignorance.

He employed the tactic Monday when asked if Education Secretary Arne Duncan was appropriate in invoking race when he sneered at “white suburban moms” for complaining about the Common Core education standards.

Said Carney:

I haven’t talked to the president about this issue and I haven’t seen Arne’s full comments.

Hasn’t seen his full comments? You mean like, since Duncan took office?

Anyway, Carney then immediately belied his own assertion by obviously reading a prepared response:

But if his point was that we need to be honest with kids and parents about whether we’re providing the skills they need to succeed, I think we can all agree on that.

If his point was? The White House doesn’t have Arne’s phone number to find out his address? His email account? Is the White House friends with him on Facebook at least?

So Carney knew enough to generate some spin, but not to answer the question. Got it.

The Contempt is Revealed

President Obama claims his administration is all about helping the middle class. But that’s not really true. This administration is about transfer payments to the lower class. It’s about redistributing wealth. And ultimately, it’s about contempt for the hard work that it takes to make it into the middle class and stay there.

Once in awhile, the veneer drops, and the truth emerges. Obama’s justifiably infamous “you didn’t build that” tirade comes to mind.

It dropped again Friday when Education Secretary Arne Duncan said this about opposition to the new “Common Core” education standards:

It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary. You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.

Just look at the simmering contempt that has bubbled up to the surface here.

The White House likes to deny that it engages in class warfare for political purposes. Well, those who make the charge are wrong only in the sense that it’s not just for political purposes. Class warfare is how this administration thinks.

Obama and Arne Duncan
Obama and Arne Duncan

White House suburban moms are, demographically speaking, the cornerstone of the middle class. Obama wants their vote. But that’s really all he wants to do with them.

I have news for you, Mr. Duncan. I know some of these suburban moms, white and otherwise. They are working their asses off, making sacrifices, juggling myriad obligations, and enduring limitless doses of stress to make it all work.

Criticism of the Common Core educational standards centers on their emphasis on “critical thinking,” which evens the playing field between these women’s hardworking children and the slackers. Critical thinking is subjective. Memorizing historical facts and learning your multiplication tables is not. The latter takes a lot more studying.

Mr. Duncan came out of Chicago with Obama. They’re friends. They are of the same mind.

And at bottom, they despise the very middle class moms whose tax dollars, culled from the fruit of hard work, are funding their schemes.

But in the end – and this is the problem with Socialism – they will kill the goose laying the golden eggs.

Arne Duncan’s Houdini Hoops

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan may be shamelessly circumventing Congress by allowing states to opt out of No Child Left Behind as long as they embrace President Obama’s education policies.

But he sure can play basketball. Take a look at this.

Obama plays with Duncan regularly on the weekends. POTUS is either getting the kid gloves, or he’s got game. I suspect the latter, since they played before Obama went prime time politically.

H/T to Fishbowl DC.

Another Day, Another Power Grab

What’s the major difference between George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law and the new education program that will be announced by President Obama today?

It’s there in the very sentence above.

The Bush law is a law. It was the result of arduous bipartisan negotiations that led to an agreement between, of all people, Bush and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The Obama program is a program. It is federal fiat, a decision about what’s best by your superiors in the Obama administration. It’s a unilateral move to bypass the legislative process. It may or may not be good education policy. But the Chinese Politburo also may or may not be doing good education policy.

Obama in the Rose Garden
I know what's best for you.
Photo by Keith Koffler

Today’s education event is the latest power grab by the Obama administration, which is already creating vast new rules for other huge sectors of the economy – particularly the environment, health care and finance.

Sure, the health and financial “reform” laws were passed by Congress. But the Democratic-controlled legislature used the bills to cede awesome rule-writing authority to the administration, which will revamp how health care and loans are administered.

Needless to say, both laws are unpopular and were passed by a Congress that was thoroughly rejected in 2010 after passing them.

And the Environmental Protection Agency has evolved into its own special satrapy.

Obama’s education proposal, to be trumpeted this morning in the East Room, would exempt states from requirements of the No Child Left Behind Law if they accede to education strategies developed or supported by Obama Education Secretary and basketball pal Arne Duncan.

In return for exemption from onerous NCLB standards like a 2014 deadline for student proficiency in math and reading, states must adhere to a federally-approved “college and career ready” curriculum. The states must also take other steps to be approved by the federal government, including ways to overhaul their worst schools and new performance measures for teachers and principals.

States don’t like the 2014 deadline because they promised to meet it and are failing. So now, the federal government has them over a barrel and will forgive the deadline if states play ball with Duncan.

In an August briefing previewing the new policy, Duncan encapsulated the Administration mindset: BIG BROTHER KNOWS BEST.

I want to thank the President for doing the right thing, stepping up. Congress, we would have loved them to act. They should have acted, didn’t happen, and we can’t afford to sit here and not support states.

This is the right thing to do for the country. Congress just hasn’t acted. And we can’t afford to wait. People are begging, they’re imploring us to do the right thing.

So it’s not my job to psychoanalyze Congress; it’s my job to move forward the children.

So you see, instructs Mr. Duncan, democracy is a slow and cumbersome process. But when you know what is right and other’s don’t – especially if others don’t – you just have to take action.

Even though once, long ago, our Founding Fathers decided that democracy was the “right” thing to do.