Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

Arne Duncan at 2008/08/17 House hearing


– Against social promotion.
– Backed “back to basics” – but no mention of content rigor and depth.
– Supporter of charter schools (Renaissance 2010 – now 75 charter schools out of 625), sees himself as portfolio manager.
– Authorized site-wide Principal and teacher replacement where required.
– Extended school day and year.

– Promoted use of schools as greatly-extended-day resource centers.
– Increased Principal standards (specifics?).
– Applications per teacher position increased greatly during his tenure.
– 3-year teacher retention increased to 85% under his tenure.
– Supports hard goals, flexible processes.

– Recognizes that status quo public schooling perpetuates poverty.

– Literacy (and perhaps superficial arithmetic) over analytical training/actual mathematics?

– Performance pay – but apparently only in poorest schools and with union approval, not parent-choice driven.

– “Relative performance more important than absolute performance”??
– Vouchers??

Too much emphasis on plant relative to content – it comes through why he would sign the “Broader, Bolder” statement, in addition to the historic Education Equality manifesto.


2009/01/2 - Posted by | Policy

1 Comment »

  1. Two quick points:
    1.) What’s wrong with signing both EEP and BBA? They’re not necessarily incompatible! And there’s a lot more “schools as greatly-extended-day resource centers” in BBA than EEP! The media have done a lot of work to imply that school improvement and improvement of out-of-school factors are somehow mutually exclusive. That makes for nice edu-battles in the blogosphere, but it doesn’t do much to advance the national conversation!

    2.) It’s one thing to “authorize site-wide Principal and teacher replacement where required.” It’s another altogether to REQUIRE these strategies in all or most school turnaround cases, as the first Race to the Top draft did. As the Institute for Education Sciences, the Hassels, and just about every other researcher on school turnaround strategies has concluded, there is no evidence that staff replacements are particularly effective. Sometimes that strategy works, but often it creates disruptions and breaks community relationships new leaders need to move their turnaround agendas. In many cases where schools have attempted to dismiss most of the teachers–take Hamilton County, TN, for example–they rehired the vast majority. There just aren’t that many new teachers waiting in the wings to take the jobs, and many of the old teachers flourish with a new climate and direction. Teachers in Hamilton County’s worst-performing schools received comprehensive development and support, and they outperformed teachers in wealthier schools year after year.

    Comment by Claus | 2009/09/14 | Reply

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