August 20, 2011
NYC Letter: Pants On Fire XIII -- Arne Duncan
Day 942 of CHOPE
Facts describe things as they are. Then there are lies, which describe things as they aren't; damn lies, which describe things as they aren't and adds a kick in the face; and then there is Arne Duncan, who describes things as they aren't while dabbing crocodile tears. [Pause.] Mr. Duncan, the Secretary of Education, uses his high office to oblige Mr. Obama a little political hackery against Texas Governor Rick Perry, a formidable contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
August 18, 2011 (Bloomberg) - U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Texas’s school system “has really struggled” under Governor Rick Perry, a Republican candidate for president, and the state’s substandard schools do a disservice to children. Duncan said on Bloomberg Television’s "Political Capital With Al Hunt" airing tonight and tomorrow:Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college. I feel very, very badly for the children there.
You have seen massive increases in class size [in the Texas public school system during Perry’s terms as governor since December 2000]. You’ve seen cutbacks in funding. It doesn’t serve the children well. It doesn’t serve the state well. It doesn’t serve the state’s economy well. And ultimately it hurts the country.
Perry has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s education policies. Perry declined to participate in Obama’s Race to the Top initiative that awards federal grants in exchange for adopting national standards, saying the program "smacks of a federal takeover of public schools." Perry said participating "could very well lead to the 'dumbing down' of the rigorous standards we’ve worked so hard to enact." He has called Duncan a "true bureaucrat."
... Mark Miner, a spokesman for the Perry campaign, responded to Duncan’s comments in an e-mail:The president’s secretary of education may want to do a little more homework before commenting on education in Texas. Under Governor Perry, Texas has been a national leader in adopting college and career-ready curriculum standards that will ensure Texas students graduate prepared to succeed in college and the workplace.
And Mr. Miner's advice is good advice indeed.
ARNE DUNCAN CAN'T QUITE EXPLAIN
WHY HE'S DISSING TEXAS
by Andrew Rotherham
OP-ED August 19, 2011 (Time) - When I asked Duncan about this dire assessment in an interview I had scheduled today for my next School of Thought column, the former head of the Chicago school system was light on specifics:Texas has challenges. The record speaks for itself. Lots of other states have challenges too. But there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done in Texas and a lot of children who need a chance to get a great education.
But what about the fact, I responded, that on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Texas' fourth- and eighth-graders substantially outperformed their peers in Chicago in reading and math?I would have to look at all the details, but there are real challenges in Texas. And like every other state, they should be addressed openly and honestly as in Illinois, as in Chicago, and everywhere else.
Confused? Me too, and I do this for a living.
Mr. Rotherham is confused because Mr. Duncan's damning claims are contrary to the facts. Facts that can be easily checked. Facts a federal Secretary of Education should command. In lieu of the facts, Mr. Duncan has simply lied.
Overall, Texas students scored right around the national averages in reading and math on the NAEP. And according to an Aug. 17 report by the group that administers the ACT college-admissions exam, Texas high school graduates only narrowly trail national averages for college readiness. True, the national averages aren't great, but Texas is right there with the pack. So why is Duncan dissing the Lone Star State? Its minority students outperform minority students in Chicago, albeit by smaller margins. And with a high school graduation rate of about 73%, Texas may be slightly below the national average, but it's doing a lot better than Chicago, which only graduates about 56% of its students.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air comments:
So it’s clear that not only does Duncan not know that Texas performs at the national average (whether or not one finds the national average acceptable), Duncan is apparently unaware that the school system he led is significantly worse than the national average. Let’s not forget that while Perry, as governor, has responsibility for the performance of the state government that has some responsibilities for school systems, Duncan was running the actual school system in Chicago. Despite this, and despite picking this fight himself, Duncan is entirely ignorant of the results of his own work and its comparison to Texas.
Unlike Mr. Rotherham, Texans aren't confused. They're pissed.
ROBERT SCOTT CALLS OUT ARNE DUNCAN
(WITH GOOD REASON)
by Roger Jones
OP-ED August 19, 2011 (DMN) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan's insult to Texas public education was a politically motivated distortion that doesn't become a federal official in his position.
What a load this guy is.
We shouldn't hear lies come out of the mouth of the nation's top education official (photo at right) when he discusses the record of millions of students and dedicated educators.
People work too hard to have their work dismissed with his pathetic statement about feeling "very, very badly for the children there."
TEA Commissioner Robert Scott emailed Duncan a sharp response last night...and I'm glad he did.
The tipoff that Duncan doesn't care about facts was his statement about "massive increases in class size in Texas" during Rick Perry's time in the governor's office.
Does that sound right to you -- considering the fact that the 22-1 class-size cap has been in place that whole time for primary grades?
... Anybody could look this stuff up. It's right there on the TEA website. Duncan surely has a few thousand employees who could help him find it.
Also, look up any number of reports -- ACT, NAEP, etc. -- and you'll find Texas students very competitive if not better than national averages in some areas.
Yes, yes. Mr. Duncan could have looked all that up, but what use are the facts at issue when they don't support your smear?
Facts be damned.Posted by Damian at August 20, 2011 11:45 PM