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Quotes: Duncan Laments Belated NCLB Waiver Decision

Quotes2We spent a year and a half two years trying to finish No Child Left Behind in 2009 and '10 and '11... We let schools, we let kids suffer for another year. So, in hindsight, we should have done waivers earlier... I think [overall] waivers have gone pretty darn well. You guys don't cover it much. But we have 44 pretty happy customers across the political spectrum.

-- EdSec Arne Duncan in EdWeek (Duncan's Big Mistake?)

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This is a wonderful illustration of why education secretaries (and other cabinet members for domestic affairs, in my opinion) should be elected members of the legislature, as in Britain, rather than political appointees, as in the United States: it is impossible to imagine Secretary Duncan winning election in any constituency. The man is almost unbelievably tone deaf when it comes to pronouncing on educational sociology and politics in the U.S., appears oblivious to the political consequences of his education policies for his boss, and is now in severe denial about his own role in the probably lasting curtailment in power future education secretaries will suffer because of his own mistakes. If "44 customers" are so happy with his handiwork, why is their such broadly stated agreement, from both houses of Congress, that much of the power of the federal government over education needs to be returned to the states, and why do the bills in both houses compete over who can cut back the powers of secretaries of education more severely?

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