Arne Duncan: ‘Tinkering around the edges is not sufficient.’

In speaking to reporters on a 25-minute conference call Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the No Child Left Behind Act failed to produce the radical changes necessary to improve the nation’s lowest-performing schools. He intends to change that with an aggressive $3.5 billion school improvement aid plan that demands striking changes.

Duncan said the federal government was determined to raise  the “bottom on the bottom,” the 5,000 lowest performing schools in the nation, half of which were urban, 30 percent were rural and 20 percent were suburban.

“In those schools, tinkering around the edges is not sufficient,” Duncan said. “Those children are being poorly served in chronically underachieving schools and marginal incremental change is not the answer.”

Under his plan, systems must discard scalpels and take chainsaws to  failing schools. Systems can close them, restaff them and reopen them under new leadership or as charters. They can shutter the schools and transfer students elsewhere. Or they can make deep, “transformative” changes, including replacing the leadership, adopting comprehensive reforms including performance pay for teachers and extending learning time.

During his time as CEO of Chicago schools, Duncan said he realized dramatic school improvements by adopting the turnaround model, which calls for replacing the principal and at least 50 percent of the school’s staff.  “We replace leaders, we replace teachers. Adults will leave and children will stay,” he said.

“We have to educate our way to a better economy,” Duncan said. “All of our schools need to get better. And it has to happen now with a real sense of urgency. We are providing unprecedented resources. We expect unprecedented results.”

What do you think? Is the Duncan plan simply a new name for old reforms that will produce the same disappointing results?

Or, is his plan for major shakeups at lagging schools the way to breath new life and new ambitions into moribund institutions? See details of the plan here.

74 comments Add your comment

justbrowsing

August 27th, 2009
5:23 am

It remains consistent, that schools are reflective of the dysfunctionalities existing within a community. Until those elements that affect the economic disenfranchisement of whole communities are addressed, efforts to curtail their impact on schools in their communities will be hard to come by. His assertion is once again prefaced off the fallacy that the achivement gap is indicative of the ineffective efforts of school personnel. The results will still be the same, when we continue to throw money at a problem that is much bigger than the school, and which no governmental entity has been successful as redressing – communities where widespread unemployment, violence, and drug infestation are the norm. I would like to know more about Arne Duncan’s prior efforts in Chicago, before he begins experimentation on a national scale. The fallouts of his best intentions could be catastrophic.

Lee

August 27th, 2009
5:36 am

Any plan that fails to acknowledge IQ in the academic equation is doomed to failure.

The politically correct pathogens have silenced any constructive dialogue about IQ and have instead promulgated the “everyone is equal” mantra ever since Brown vs. Board. And yet, every performance indicator returns the same results, whether you look at SAT, ACT, CRCT, graduation rates, black / white achievement gap, etc, etc.

Duncan’s plan to shut down the lowest schools and move the students into high achieving schools – where have we heard that before? Ah yes, integration of the 60’s and 70’s, moving special ed kids into the mainstream in the 80’s and 90’s; that’s where. And both have failed to produce any tangible results and have instead reduced the overall quality of education to the general population as a whole.

Until the powers that be admit that you cannot teach the student with an IQ of 120 in the same manner and pace as you would the student with an IQ of 85, these “education reforms” equate to nothing more than shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Perturbed

August 27th, 2009
5:40 am

If you look at just about any school that has done well, or has dramatically improved, it’s usually the sense of ownership, and hence participation, of the community. I’ve seen it in 3000+ student schools in which I’ve worked, as well as 250 student one-to-one laptop Microsoft schools “in the hood”. If the teachers, students and parents feel they own the school, can decide the direction of the school, it succeeds. If Arne replaces half the staff and the principal, of course this sense of ownership exists. But I’ve also seen it fade, as would the performance of the school unless this sense of ownership is nurtured. Big and small, it’s pretty consistent. Look at just about any charter school with good leadership.

LSH

August 27th, 2009
5:59 am

I always get a giggle when I read about beaucrats wanting to “replace half the staff”. Where on earth do they get the idea that there are thousands of highly qualified, experienced teachers pounding at the doors trying to get in? Most are trying to get OUT. Yes, Duncan may attract some teachers with higher pay or other incentives, but most of us became teachers because we loved teaching. If I wanted to be a parole officer- I would have become one.

ScienceTeacher671

August 27th, 2009
6:53 am

Lee may have a point that urban children who are far behind can’t be taught in the same manner as more affluent children. For one thing, you need to start much earlier – and be more intensive – to make up for the deficits in vocabulary and reading in the home life. Frequently these children need a highly structured environment, because there is little to no stability at home. A longer school day & year would probably be beneficial, and if you could add in more field trips & similar experiences to make up for the lack of such in the home life, that would be great.

I don’t think anything will really happen, because we’re too enamoured of claiming that our one-size-fits-all program is more fair, while ignoring the facts that different children have different needs and also ignoring such things as home environment and funding. (For example, children in homes with 2 professional parents will learn more academics OUTSIDE of school than students with a single mother who dropped out of school and is working two jobs to support several children; schools in some of the suburban metro districts have a much higher tax base and can provide more funding than schools in tiny rural counties, etc., etc.)

InAtlanta

August 27th, 2009
7:37 am

I’m surprised Duncan hasn’t been sued for age discrimination. Get rid of all the old people and the students will become better citizens through example! Georgia is long way from establishing discipline procedures for schools. Hell, they can’t even rely on the technology staff in the districts to accurately report how stimulus money is being spent. Too much nepotism in Gwinnett, I don’t know about the other systems; probably lack of experienced staff.

Ed Hayes

August 27th, 2009
7:37 am

Arne the Duncan’s current rhetoric does not match his past performance. Though he is on the right track in blasting intransigent and inept school districts, the Chicago Public Schools system is still one of them. Chicago’s Mayor Daley built new schools that exclude low-achieving students and handcuffed the teachers’ union. Duncan did nothing but posture as the Mayor successfully reversed ‘white flight’ with his minority-free NEW SCHOOLS. That is not school reform. And the only way a community can replicate Mayor Daley is to impose Chicagos-sized taxes on its citizens. And still you will have low-achieving, minority students dropping out of school and popping into prison. It’s a scam.
Ed Hayes Chicago Education Examiner

Reality

August 27th, 2009
8:16 am

Lee, any figures regarding how minority students in France and England compared to minority students here in the U.S.perform on tests?

dgroy

August 27th, 2009
8:16 am

Schools are no better than the teachers and administrators in charge and the parents who send their children there. Parents, wake up……you’re the problem by not spending enough time with your children and demanding better results from the school system…..you’re not taking responsibility for your children, i. e., you’re lazy.

Reality 2

August 27th, 2009
8:49 am

LSH’s point is an important one – too many of our inner city schools are staffed by incompetent teachers and administrators. One solution is to make teachers move around more. They are hired by a district, and the district should place those teachers much more strategically. NO teachers should stay in the same building for more than 10 years, but they should also stay in the same building for at least 5 years to provide some stability.

Reality

August 27th, 2009
9:00 am

Yes, the parents are to blame in many cases. I realize many who are posting comments do not want to spend more money on the “at risk child”, in fact many are extremely angry. I don’t think throwing these kids a bone is wrong and it will cost money.
So they don’t have the best parents, maybe the school system can help. Discipline in schools is a good start. The goal should be to help kids become responsible adults.

Dr. John

August 27th, 2009
9:37 am

Enter your comments here

Dr. John Trotter

August 27th, 2009
9:47 am

When it comes to the public schooling process, Duncan doesn’t know his rear end from deep center field. He doesn’t have a clue, and I don’t care what his position is. He apparently thinks that you can just demand and command improvement. He wants to replace everyone…except the ones who matter, the children. The children in these failing schools are essentially the problem. They are unmotivated and lazy. Now, Joy’s take on this is that they are dumb; my thinking is that they bring no motivation to learn to school each day. Yes, there are many incompetent and idiotic and mean administrators who need to go (but realize that they were promoted because they are sycophants). There are even some bad teachers (but these are really rare). The problem starts with the students. What is Duncan going to do with some so-called students who act like miscreants each day? (c) MACE, August 27, 2009.

Ernest

August 27th, 2009
10:03 am

This point has been raised several times in the past but I’d like to ask again. Why did we get rid of ‘ability grouping’ with respect to instruction? I recall hearing that part of the reason was the perception that minority students were placed in the ‘turtles’ group when they perhaps could have benefited being with the ‘rabbits’. If true, this could probably be attributed to administrators at the time not knowing how to objectively evaluate the academic abilities of minority students, especially during the heated times of integration.

I want to believe that most don’t mind providing additional assistance to struggling students as long as it does not compromise instruction for average and high achievers. It would probably mean getting rid of ‘instructional pacing’ and various classes being at different levels, correlating to the ability of the students. Does ability grouping still have such a negative connotation that it is not being considered as a possible strategy?

Reality

August 27th, 2009
10:24 am

I hope that he (and others) quickly realize that….

Changing administration/teachers rarely make a difference. To make a difference, the core problem must be identified and then addressed. The core problem here is the inability of parents to properly raise children that are capable of a proper education.

As a teacher in public schools, I clearly see a tremendous difference in children that are raised properly vs. those that are not. Children that are taught to value education, to respect adults, to have basic manners, etc., are a pleasure to teach. Children that are taught no social skills and have no respect for authority or adults are the likely ones to get into trouble and to fail classes.

Maybe, in order to raise up the lowest performing schools, we should set up a giant orphanage and take the children away from bad parents? Then we can possibly ensure that these kids at least get some sort of proper parenting?

We can change education a million times. Until the core problem is addressed, it won’t really help at all.

Reality 2

August 27th, 2009
11:24 am

I think there are core problemS. Teachers and Administrators are one of the core problems. The challenge is to address as many of those core problems at the same time as no single one will result in meaningful changes.

Jennifer

August 27th, 2009
11:40 am

So now it makes sense why the dramatic increase in the number of Title I schools this year in some counties. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

No doubt, extra money will help if it is turned into extra resources in the form of extra instructional time, classroom resources, language acquisition, and community services. But what if the money is just spent on bloated government operations within the district ? Let’s hope this is a very transparent process that results in high expectations for students, not just raising the bar an inch and calling it a success.

Teacher keeping it Real

August 27th, 2009
11:52 am

Thank God that I teach in a predominately white school!!!

V for Vendetta

August 27th, 2009
11:53 am

AN OPEN LETTER TO ARNE DUNCAN

Dear Arne Duncan,

Although the current administration’s socialist ideals have become more obvious during the past few months, the unmitigated gall with which you proclaim your New World Order for America’s schools is nevertheless shocking. The American people have tolerated the government’s meddling in schools for the past century; however, in that time, we have watched the competitiveness of our students slowly erode as what is good for “society” has consistently trumped what is good for the individual. I don’t think you need a history lesson, but I feel compelled to remind you that this country was founded as a Republic based on individual rights. Those rights are basic and clear in meaning: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

All people have the right to life, unimpeded and unencumbered by others; however, they must work to preserve their own lives, for their lives are not the responsibility of others. All people have the right to live free: They are able to live as they so choose and in accordance with their values, as long as their actions do not infringe on the rights of others to do the same. All people have the right to pursue their own happiness and own private property. They are able to work towards that which they value, but such work is their responsibility and theirs alone. It is not done for them. Because the pursuit of such happiness is a volitional act, they have rights only to what they produce—not what is produced by others.

Though these concepts are not difficult to comprehend, America has been consistently moving away from them since they were first put on paper. You say that we must “educate our way to a better economy,” but I fail to see how redistributing billions of taxpayers’ dollars to the lowest-performing students, schools, and districts will accomplish such a goal. In essence, you are promoting failure by declaring that the needs of those who are unable to perform are greater than the needs of those who consistently excel.

The solution, Mr. Duncan, is not more money extorted from the American people; it is not different teachers, administrators, or programs; it is certainly not more government regulation, control, and interference. The solution is elegantly simple: When education is no longer perceived as an unearned right, and is thought of as a value to be obtained through hard work, the students who choose to pursue it will be motivated, disciplined, and successful.

A person such as yourself would obviously ask the question that is no doubt already forming on your lips: What about those who don’t choose to pursue their educations? What about those who have mooched their way through life and lived off of the producers like parasites. Who will think of them?

But you already know the answer: Why should we think of them?

Sincerely,
John Galt

what's right for kids???

August 27th, 2009
11:54 am

Reality 2, I daresay that in huge counties, teachers will balk at moving schools unless the county is willing to pay for that move. I live in Roswell, and I teach in Roswell. There’s a reason for that. If I were sent to Union City, the county would have one disgruntled employee on its hands. And that is not what is best for kids.
Now, if counties are willing to relocate teachers (i.e. buy their old homes and help them relocate to new ones), then that is a different story.
Relocating for the smaller counties is much different than the larger ones: Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb.

Seen it all

August 27th, 2009
12:05 pm

What does the racial makeup of a school have to do with the instructional level of the students? I keep seeing people bring up “minority students” as the key point of the discussion regarding “low performing schools.” But most rural schools are mostly white and 30% of those were described as low performing. This is not a race issue, people. Let’s not make it one.

Vince

August 27th, 2009
12:08 pm

OMG! I actually agree with Dr. Trotter on something! Well, most of it anyway. There are actually more bad teachers than bad administrators….but that doesn’t really matter. The crux of the matter is that schools won’t change until we seriously address the input. That is, when kids come to school ready to learn and behave, when their parents are ready to support the school and when parents actually expose their pre-school aged children to learning…THEN we will see an improvement in the lower performing schools. Everything else is just a waste of time, money and energy.

Seen it all

August 27th, 2009
12:13 pm

Reality2,

I like the sound of your “5/10″ idea. Teachers must stay at a school at least 5 years, but no more than 10. It would definitely help out many schools. Too many teachers go to a school, teach 1-3 years, and leave. This causes a CONSTANT drain of resources, manpower, and experience. The turnover hurts the school, students, and community. Yet in other schools, teachers get in stay for years. They get molded to the walls. I knew of one teacher who had been at the same school for 27 years and another who was at her school almost the same amount of time. Everybody needs a change of pace after awhile, see new things and new ideas.

Reality 3

August 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

Not all teachers have a calling to help the less fortunate – that’s ok – you do what you can. If your a qualified teacher you should be able work were you want. Having said that – I would still prefer my tax dollars to be spent on the less fortunate, even if it takes money and time to find the right mix of programs. I know many don’t agree but the cream of the crop does need as much help in life.

Have you ever seen the tv show NY Prep on Bravo, these kids are the cream of the crop with no morals and alot of parental support.

jim d

August 27th, 2009
2:17 pm

it is the PREANTS FAULT!

Maureen's accountability metric

August 27th, 2009
3:08 pm

I just want to know, in the course of his 25 minute phone call, did he mention that schools must do a better job in supporting the classroom teacher in matters of discipline?

And if he didn’t, how can you not say, that at the most fundamental of levels, he is being intellectually dishonest?

LSH

August 27th, 2009
3:16 pm

How exactly are you planning to force teachers to move from one school to anotheer? I work for a county- almost all the schools in my county are high performing. The county CAN move me to any school within the county.

The low performing schools (APS?/ DeKalb?) are not in my county’s jurisdiction. I worked in the low performing schools for three years, got my experience and got out. I can assure you that I would quit in a heartbeat before being moved back to my former school. You can’t MAKE teachers work anywhere. You start moving teachers around to crummy schools and working conditions, the teachers will quit in droves or unionize so fast it will make your head spin.

what's right for kids???

August 27th, 2009
3:50 pm

What’s a Preant?

Reality 2

August 27th, 2009
5:22 pm

No one has the right to have a particular job. If you don’t like it, you have the right to quit. But, if you are a district employee, then you must accept the district’s decision about how to position their employers to serve the best interest of the district’s children. I am not, however, opposed to providing *some* support for teachers who get transferred to a school that is 50 miles (or so) away from their previous schools.

I think more teachers will go to what LSH call crummy schools go give their best KNOWING they will be moving in 5 years of so. No one is going to get stuck at a school.

V for Vendetta

August 27th, 2009
5:29 pm

Seen it all, of course you like the sound of that idea; you’re a collectivist who seems to abhor individual rights. Why not force teachers to move schools? You’re already demanding that Americans pay through the nose to help those less fortunate than themselves–for no other reason than they HAVE and others HAVE NOT. Why not force the Gifted kids’ parents to pay higher taxes in restitution for having an intelligent child? Why not force the colleges to accept those who aren’t as talented simply because they aren’t as talented. It’s not fair to discriminate based on ability and intelligence, is it? That would be wrong.

Seen it all, your brand of thinking is the most dangerous kind. In your scenarios, the individual is nothing–only society matters. What is good for society is good for all, even if it comes at the expense of the talented few. They should expect such treatment simply because they are talented. But I fail to see, anywhere in your posts, a statement that refers to individual accountability. The mere suggestion that one be responsible for one’s actions is anathema to a collectivist.

EducationCEO

August 27th, 2009
5:48 pm

Dr. Trotter and ed Hayes…THANK YOU for keeping it real! Duncan HAS NEVER even taught and I wish people would stop making this man out to be the Messiah of Education because HE IS NOT. There is so much corruption going on in Chicago Schools that you would think they are being run by the mafia…I also agree with the comment about supprot for classroom teachers. We cannot use what is going on in Chicago and DC to fix GA’s schools…you cannot fire teachers and take away the union and still expect them to be 100% productive…I am waiting for that mess in DC to backfire on Rhee because she has gone about things in the wrong way…before Rhee, there was Marva Collins…I am not buying into this savior mentality that they are pushing on us.

Reality 2

August 27th, 2009
7:24 pm

We need to get over this myth that anyone who has not taught cannot run a school system (large and small) well. The last time I checked, there was NOTHING in teacher education program that prepares teachers to run a single school, let alone a district or a larger system. There are those who have teaching experiences who can run a system well, and there are those without teaching experiences who can run a system well. Teaching experiences should never be the litmus test for an administrator.

Mary

August 27th, 2009
8:14 pm

Teacher keeping it Real:

YES! Please stay where the heck you are! And stay the heck away from the “few” that happen to be in your school. They don’t need your poison in their lives.

Mary

August 27th, 2009
8:19 pm

I would like to copy my post from a similar forum:

I still have a problem with this concept of the “desire” to learn that many children are said not to have. How do you gain a desire to learn when most around you don’t demonstrate educational or economic achievement? How can we fault a child for the low motivation, laziness, unconcern, (or whatever you want to call it) of the parent?

It’s almost like saying the child of a rapist is destined to become a rapist. Just because a parent doesn’t demonstrate a desire to learn, it doesn’t mean that a child can’t find that desire – through opportunity and intesest provided by OTHER adults outside the family environment.

If there’s a chance to build that “desire” to learn in a child, should we not take it? Wouldn’t building this desire in a child by showing them academic opportunity and success increase the chances of them becoming a productive member of society? Isn’t that what you want – for them to work, pay taxes, and stay out of trouble like most of us do. Wouldn’t they then be much more likely to pass on a desire for learning and success to their children WITHOUT the need for public funding and intervention in the school? Do you’ll see where I’m going with this? We’ve got to break the cycle at some point…

Rosie

August 27th, 2009
8:47 pm

I invite Mr. Duncan to come down to my school and clean house. After he is done I will sit back and laugh as he attempts to hire a new staff for the underperforming school. Nobody wants to go to an underperforming school. Who wants to teach children coming from homes where education is not a priority? The school is seen as a babysitting service w/free food and air conditioning. Parents assume a student should enter and exit in thirteen years with a diploma regardless of whether they worked for it or not. Put in the required time and I want my diploma. These same students and parents assume a college or employer will treat them the same. We have created an entitlement system. Show up and get paid or get the grade regardless of the effort put forth. Love the posting by V for Vendetta- the John Galt letter is perfection. Education should be EARNED.

Sam

August 27th, 2009
9:32 pm

V for Vendetta, oh please, enough of the “individual rights” mantra. Such limited thinking fails horribly to realize that individual rights, by definition, are only meaningful within the context of others. No others, no individual. No collective, no individual. No society, no individual. Put it to rest, won’t you please?

V for Vendetta

August 27th, 2009
9:34 pm

Mary, do you honestly believe that a school, which sees a student for six hours a day, can overcome the enormous negative influences that permeate the rest of his or her life? By the time a child reaches elementary school, his view of education is already ingrained within him. His attitude towards learning, largely developed by the parents’ attitude and modeling of such activities as reading, has already been shaped over the course of five years. The respect with which he does or does not treat authority figures has already been taught to him by the example (or non-example) of his parents. His sense of self efficacy has been shaped by the way his parents treat him and others close to his family.

And you don’t think this is a matter of desire?

What do you propose the school do? Should we regulate who can have children? Should we remove all children from their negative influences, including but not limited to parents, friends, and family members? Should we imprison parents who are not good role models?

No, of course not. Such behavior would be absurd and an enormous violation of individual rights. In a free society, Mary, people are equally free to succeed . . . or to fail. Unfortunately, this includes the institution of parenthood. It’s not pretty, and I get no joy from seeing a child in my classroom with a sense of self worth equivalent to that of a slug. However, such a child is irredeemable if there is not cooperation with the teacher and support for the student at home. Without that, all the encouraging words in the world fall on deaf ears.

The world isn’t some big mystery, Mary. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to understand that education is the key to a better life. We can’t help people who have no respect for themselves . . . or their own children. As I’ve said before, education is a VOLITIONAL act–i.e., a conscious choice to pursue something that is of great value. No one will ever value education until a value is placed on education. That won’t happen until people stop making excuses for the moochers and allow them to fail. Maybe then they’ll be able to understand the value of education, when it’s a matter of survival.

But we won’t ever let them get to that point. It just wouldn’t be “fair.”

V for Vendetta

August 27th, 2009
9:42 pm

Sam, check your premises. Individual rights are not dependent on others–hence the term. Individual rights are the rights inherent in all individuals for existence qua individuals. When people start thinking about the rights of the collective or the rights of society, the rights of the individual are forfeited to the “greater good.”

But the “greater good” is just a clever euphemism. A collective can hold no rights; it can only remove them from individuals.

ga

August 28th, 2009
12:39 am

Dr Trotter – to be honest I get sick and tired of your rhetoric toward parents and children. I am a parent, heavily involved with my kids education, and believe me, My children know who the boss is..that would be me and their father. They also are not lazy either. My oldest had some issues where he was falling behind in math, and it wasn’t because he was lazy either. He just didn’t get what was presented to him in the way it was presented to him. I had to fork out my own money to tutor him and it wasn’t cheap. He was not lazy, I did not spoil him or coddle him…plain and simple – NOBODY wanted to bother to present the material to him in a way that he could understand. The tutor got him to understand it though…so that tells me something.

Please give us all a break with you constantly laying blame on the kids.. It gets old.

BTW I am sure you think all of us ‘parents’ just want to be friends with their children because we don’t believe in your methods of discipline that you tout on your website. I can tell you for sure from my standpoint, that could not be further from the truth.

Homeschooling is looking better every day.

Sam

August 28th, 2009
8:57 am

V for Vendetta, I absolutely agree that “[i]ndividual rights are not dependent on others-hence the term.” But by this statement you expose limited, limiting and, most importantly, reductionistic thinking. Can you grasp that individual rights and others (i.e., society, the collective, whatever disparaging term you wish) are interdependent – again, interdependent? That no one of them exists by merely being dependent on the other? Your style of thinking drives to reductionistic solutions that destroy societies, collectives, and, yes, public education systems. Again, please give up the “individual rights” mantra and perhaps pick up a less limiting paradigm.

Gwinnett Parent

August 28th, 2009
9:16 am

Let’s look at the ideas.
1) Throw money at low performing schools by offering new buildings, lower student/teacher ratios, and the best materials available. All at the cost of the higher performing schools. Done
2) Staff lower achieving schools with highly qualified teachers and offer incentives to teach in these schools. Offer grants to graduates of teacher education programs in exhange for 4 years of service to an “at needs school” Done
3) Cherry pick the finest principals for lower achieving schools. Offer these principals “combat pay” in the form of additional salary for teaching at one of these schools. Done
4) Hold parents accountable for their children’s education, in addition to truancy laws. Hmmmmm
5) Provide a safe non hostile working environment so the educators can teach with out disruptive students. Take care of problem students immediately and permanently so the teacher can do his/her job. Hmmmmmm

School success depends on teachers, principal, students, and parents. The new building theory just seems illogical, considering that there are some fine schools housed in 100yr old+ buildings. Low performing schools have tinkered with teachers, administrators, and have received more cash than the higher performing ones. This leaves parents and students to get their act together. You can throw purfume on a cow patty and it will still be a cow patty.

[...] Duncan declared NCLB only “tinkered” with the system of public schools, while he wanted to take [...]

V for Vendetta

August 28th, 2009
12:42 pm

Sam, what’s wrong with breaking down society, the collective, etc., into the fundamental pieces that allow them to function–the individuals. I think your logic is a bit flawed. Interdependence should not abrogate the rights of the individual. Rather, interdependence is the result of individuals working together and recognizing values inherent in one another. An individual need not do business with someone he does not value. That’s the beauty of capitalism versus socialism–value recognition and choice.

As for your conclusion, I’ll say this: I would hope my way of thinking would destroy a society such as the one we are building now in America. I would be happy to know that my way of thinking destroyed any form of collective. I would be overjoyed if my way of thinking brought about the end of public education and allowed us to move forward with choice.

Respect for individual rights is the only moral form of interaction between men. Laissez faire Capitalism is its economic equivalent.

M

August 28th, 2009
4:01 pm

You cannot continue to throw money at underachieving schools to fix the problem! Some of these underachieving schools have great teachers and staff. Parental involement in these schools would be GREAT! Any furhter advise about how to better these schools Mr. Duncan?

Reality3

August 28th, 2009
5:44 pm

How much can the parents at some underachieving schools contribute? Can they help with school work? Maybe not, if they didn’t graduate. What can they contribute to the PTA? Cookies! What do they really know about education? I think you are asking many parents to do things they don’t know how to do. Just an opinion – maybe the education system can work around parents since they cann’t or won’t contribute. Instead of putting so much negative energy towards parents, maybe administrators/teachers can direct some positive energy to students. Afterall, teachers are there to educate the kids not their parents on the values of education.

Reality3

August 28th, 2009
5:46 pm

Additionally, its up to the school district to set the rules for discipline.

ga

August 28th, 2009
7:00 pm

Reality3 – the sad truth is that discipline can be handled with pbis and many school districts have not implemented it or if they have implemented it, it may not be done consistently because the staff has not bought into it.

Sam

August 28th, 2009
7:01 pm

Well said, Reality3 @5:44 pm!

V for Vendetta

August 28th, 2009
9:06 pm

Reality3, all of the positive energy in the world won’t make a difference in a child’s life if he consistently returns home to ignorance and apathy. Students see their parents far more than they see teachers; it is impossible to overcome that sort of negative influence. However, it goes way beyond just the parents. If a student’s parents are as you describe, there’s a very good probability that they are not too concerned with their child’s peer group. Many of these parents are single, and the revolving door of relationships to which their children are exposed damage their sense of attachment and trust–especially in adults. It is no wonder these students grow up failing to value education when every example in their lives outside of school have no sense of value to begin with.

What’s the solution? More attention? More money? At whose expense?

The last question is the easiest to answer: At everyone’s expense. The attention and the money have to come from somewhere, right? The money comes from taxpayers pockets; it’s collected from the wealthy and the vast middle class and then redistributed to the poorest districts. The attention comes from teachers who could be bestowing it on another student who prides himself on success and has a bright future. Keep in mind, these students do not necessarily have to be the smartest students in the school–just the ones who value education, understand WHY it’s a value, and pursue it accordingly.

But no one cares about them. People only seem to care about the ones who do not care for themselves. According to Arne Duncan, that’s how we’re going to get out of this economic crisis–by caring for those who care not for themselves.

Brilliant.

Reality2

August 29th, 2009
7:03 am