Out with the Old, In with More of the Same Old Thing

Today, it has been announced that Arne Duncan, who has “rescued public education” by promoting the expansion of corporate-operated charter schools and corporate-provided standardized testing, is leaving his post as Secretary of Education.

That would be cause for a deep sigh of relief, if not a loud cheer—except that his replacement will be John B. King, Jr., the current Deputy Secretary of Education.

Here is a summary of King’s “accomplishments” as provided by the Washington Post:

“King  is a Brooklyn native who often credits teachers with guiding him toward a successful path after he was orphaned at age 12. A former charter school leader in Boston and New York, he joined the education department in January after a turbulent tenure as commissioner of education for the state of New York. In that role, he was a key architect of new teacher evaluations tied to test scores and played a key role in pushing New York to adopt new tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards years before other states did the same.

“King defended those moves, favored by Duncan and the Obama administration, even as they made him the target of public outrage. Parents saw their children’s test scores fall and teachers unions called for his ouster.”

Just to be clear, no one is opposed to improved standards and increased accountability, but it would be refreshing if a Democratic administration had a Department of Education that was introducing progressive mechanisms for achieving those goals, rather than simply adopting self-serving corporate solutions that undermine the notion that public schools, like all public institutions, serve the public good.



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