DUNCAN: Five Hard Questions For The Education Secretary
Bored of seeing Arne go around the country giving out money and talking about how the stimulus money is going to make schools dramatically better? Concerned that many the stories you're reading (or writing) are nothing more than fluffy "beat sweeteners" not real news? Here are some questions to consider:
1 -- What's up with the slow pace of appointments? This Washington Post article suggests that the USDE is lagging behind. Still no Deputy, in case you hadn't noticed -- can we have one by Memorial Day?
2 -- Tell us again about that "Renaissance 2010" thing, will you? A newly released report from Chicago suggests that the new schools created under Duncan's signature reform program aren't any better than the ones he closed down. Any evidence that you did better in the second two years?
3 -- So you like to close schools, do you? A second report from Chicago, this one dug out by an advocacy group called PURE, suggests that the impact closing down low-performing schools isn't as clear as you claimed. Any regrets or things you'd change about the closings?
4 -- What about all the violence? Thirty-two school-age kids have died in Chicago since September -- a record amount already. None took place on campus, but the problem of gangs and gang "control" of schools is obvious to educators in Chicago. Who's responsibility is that, and what did you do to make sure that the issue was getting enough attention?
5 -- How exactly how are you going to give states and districts more flexibility while measuring them against common (international) standards? Tight/loose doesn't work when the elements you're talking about are directly contradictory.