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TV: Colbert Report Needs Questions For Duncan Interview Tonight

Writers from the staff of The Colbert Report have contacted me asking for help with tonight's interview with Education Secretary, Arne Duncan.  They need questions and jokes for Colbert to ask.  I've only got a couple.  Can you help out? 

Main -What does it say that Kevin Jennings is being bullied by those mean Republicans, and no one seems to be able to stop them?  Your safe schools czar isn't safe. 

-You and Attorney General -- both extremely tall gentlemen -- are going to Chicago this week to talk about youth violence.  What're you going to do, play two on two against the gang leaders to see who gets to control the streets?

-Speaking of which:  If I play you in a game of "horse" and I win, does that mean that I'll be in charge of the schools? 

-You've called No Child Left Behind "toxic" and said it needs changing -- can I take that to mean that some children should be left behind?  If so, I have some kids I'd like to nominate.


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Race to the Top is great for states that want to remain a part of the union. What are your plans for Rick Perry and the Texas Race to the Bottom? Is Texas too big to fail?

Wow...it's a little early but...

Why prepare children for jobs that we are just going to ship overseas?

You support standardized testing to measure student and teacher performance, but the president sends his children to a school that does not use standardized tests. What does he know that you don't?

Andrew, you should tell them to look at the job forecasts at the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t06.htm, and ask Duncan which jobs, exactly, need high levels of math and science.

Do you ride the ed reform tour bus with Rev. Al and Newt, or do you make up a last-second excuse to fly into the next city?

Could you send the writers this link: .pdf (http://www.educatorroundtable.org/petition12pt.pdf) and see if Steven will hand the 35,000+ signatures to Duncan? It's only 1,038 pages long in single spaced 12 point font...He might ask the Secretary what's wrong with all the signers...

Thank you!

There is a lot of talk about skills that are required for success in today's work, i.e., 21st century skills. Do you find them important? How are you ensuring students get the knowledge and skills required to compete against Eastern competitors. What does it say when Chinese students are better critical thinkers than U.S. students?

When are you going to "rebrand" No Child Left Behind? How about a new more hip brand? (insert joke here)

What do you think of 1:1 laptops for kids? or how about 1:1 iPhones with my photo on them?

How are you going to engage kids in the discussion of education reform so it's something they participate in, rather than something done to them?

Do you believe that children are out future? How do we teach them well and let them lead the way? -OR- if you prefer, Mr. Secretary, How do we feed children on your dreams?

What's the difference between education and training? Do our kids need to be educated to serve the rich and powerful? Why can't we just train them like the betas in Brave New World?

reader LB and her colleagues sent these in:

“Couldn’t we boost student reading scores if your first name was actually spelled like it sounds?”

“One of your assistants is named Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana. For consistencies sake, shouldn’t your name be Arne Duncan de Chicago?”

“You and the President play basketball together. In the name of Title IX, shouldn’t you and he organize a pick up field hockey game?”

“You keep asking for education that complements the whole child. But the parts compose the whole, buddy. Who is gonna teach our children about the parts? Because we can’t leave that type of education up to TV personalities…especially late-night comedy hosts!”

(clash of a cymbal.)

Clearly he should ask whether Diane Ravitch is right -- that he's really just Margaret Spellings in drag: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2009/02/is_arne_duncan_really_margaret.html

Maybe something like this: "What are you planning on doing differently than Republicans did when they were in charge? Because, you know, some people are saying that you're no different than the Republicans, that you're really just Margaret Spellings, the former Secretary of Eduation, in drag. Is that true?"

"Charlie Brown's teacher. Just WHAT dialect IS that?!!"

Maybe we've had it wrong, No Child Left Behind isn't proving to be a very efficient plan. How do you feel about No Parent Left Behind? Talk about complementing the whole child. Start with the adults in a child's life, give them the tools to be responsible, supportive parents and see what happens.

Maybe we've had it wrong, No Child Left Behind isn't proving to be a very efficient plan. How do you feel about No Parent Left Behind? Talk about complementing the whole child. Start with the adults in a child's life, give them the tools to be responsible, supportive parents and see what happens.

Arne, what is it like to have played basketball at the ONLY Ivy League to NEVER have won a League championship?

When are you going to ask teachers for their input?

Why do you use "incent" as a verb when it's not even a word?

Do you believe children need background knowledge in order to perform well on tests, or are you trying to weed out those without background knowledge by testing them?

Should public education be privatized and marketed?

Should superintendents and principals spend more time teaching?

Do the teachers in failing schools suck, or is it the impoverished, violent neighborhoods that insert themselves into the school via the students and families?

Would early childhood education help close the achievement gap?

Would universal health care help close the achievement gap?

Have Gates or Broad ever taught in a public school? Have you?

Which children, if any, will be allowed to use Segways in the Race to the Top?

Mr. Secretary, was the toughest thing about Rev. Al Sharpton and Speaker Newt Gingrich traveling the country talking about education reform getting them to stop fighting over each other's hair?

Why do only rich people get charter *planes* and only poor kids get charter *schools*? Shouldn't we reapportion those cool objects?

Are you willing to be tested right now? Under penalty of losing your secretary-shhip? Shall we start with Language or Mathematicas?

Have you "slam-Duncaned" on President Barack Obama while playing basketball?
Have the Secret Service broken your legs because of that incident? Or threatened you?

"Mr. Secretary,

Do you know much about history?
Do you know much biology?
Much about a science book?
Much about the French I took?

But I do want to question you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

Do you know much about geography?
Do you know much trigonometry?
Do you know much about algebra?
Do you know what a slide rule is for?

But I do know that one and one is two
And if Colbert could be with you
What a wonderful world this would be

Now I don't claim to be an "A" student
But I'm trying to be
So maybe by being an "A" student, secretary I can win your love for me

As a follow-up, Mr. Secretary: Is education reform as easy as "ABC, 1-2-3, baby, you and me?

So if Title IX is working so well to guarantee equality in sports, when are you going to roll out the same guidelines for choir? or general education?

If you do organize a pick up field hockey game, what color plaid would Obama have on his kilt?

Would he wear it "Scottish"?

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