Arne Duncan at Morehouse and Meadowcreek High Monday

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be at Morehouse College and Meadowcreek High School Monday.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be at Morehouse College and Meadowcreek High School Monday. (US DOE photo)

U. S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Congressman John Lewis and film producer Spike Lee will ask Morehouse College students to pursue teaching careers at a noon event at the Atlanta campus Monday, and then Duncan will join Sen. Johnny Isakson and Congressman Hank Johnson for a roundtable at Gwinnett County’s Meadowcreek High School. (I plan to talk to Sec. Duncan today on the phone about both these events and then attend the programs Monday.)

The Morehouse program is open to the public but is first come, first serve. It is at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, 830 Westview Dr., S.W., Atlanta.

Here is the official US DOE statement on Duncan’s day:

“With more than 1 million teachers expected to retire in the coming years, we have a historic opportunity to transform public education in America by calling on a new generation to join those already in the classroom,” Secretary Duncan said. “We are working with the broader education community to strengthen and elevate the entire teaching profession so that every teacher has the support and training they need to succeed. Education is the great equalizer in America and the civil rights issue of our generation. If you care about promoting opportunity and reducing inequality, the classroom is the place to start.”

“Studies show that books, curricula, school buildings, and supplies are all important, but in the academic setting the teacher has the greatest influence on young people’s lives,” Rep. Lewis said. “So many boys and girls grow up today without experiencing the impact of any significant adult male in their lives. This void can lead to tragic consequences in our communities, contributing to gang participation and teen pregnancy. Teaching is a powerful way to make a difference and turn this decline in male support into a rich, rewarding learning environment that can transform a young person.

The TEACH campaign, launched in September 2010, encourages more minorities, especially males, to pursue careers in the classroom. Nationwide, more than 35 percent of public school students are African American or Hispanic, but less than 15 percent of teachers are Black or Latino. Less than 2 percent of our nation’s teachers are African American males. To learn more about the TEACH campaign, click here.

After the town hall meeting, MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson will announce his five-year national initiative to recruit, train and place 80,000 African American male teachers by 2015. Leaders from around the country will speak to a small group of young men about the need for them to become ambassadors for this initiative.

Secretary Duncan, joined by Sen. Johnny Isakson and Congressman Hank Johnson, will hold a roundtable with students at Meadowcreek High School, which is among the schools in Gwinnett County that won the prestigious Broad Prize. The prize is the largest education award in the country given to urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among low-income and minority students.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog.

55 comments Add your comment

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
10:47 am

“…Starring Arne Duncan as Moe and John Lewis as Curly and Spike Lee as Larry…”

Bruce Kendall

January 28th, 2011
10:52 am

Are these events open to the public. I for one would like to attend one of them just to listen.

irisheyes

January 28th, 2011
10:53 am

Interesting that he’s going to Meadowcreek where I’m sure that there are many teachers who are working as hard as they can but are faced with high poverty, gangs, drugs, high numbers of English Language Learners, etc. In other words, all of those things that are, for the most part, out of a teacher’s control. Yet, Meadowcreek falls below the GCPS average in almost all categories. So, are the teachers there worse than the teachers at other GCPS high schools? Or, could it be something else. . .

Maureen Downey

January 28th, 2011
11:00 am

@Bruce, The Morehouse event is open, but it is first come first serve with seating. The facility holds 500. See details here.

Noon – 1:30pm
RECRUITING THE NEXT GENERATION OF TEACHERS

A panel discussion with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Presented by the Department of Education and Morehouse College

PARTICIPANTS: -Secretary Arne Duncan -Jeff Johnson, Contributor,MSNBC -Spike Lee ‘79, Film maker, writer, and actor, and -a local public school principal and teacher

Location: The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, 830 Westview Dr., S.W., Atlanta

APS Teacher

January 28th, 2011
11:28 am

Dear Arne,

Keep Racing to the Bottom and go home.

teacher&mom

January 28th, 2011
11:34 am

The picture of the sweet little girl beside Duncan is a classic. One has to wonder if Arne’s words are so astounding that she’s forgotten to chew or she is about to throw up ;)

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

January 28th, 2011
11:46 am

Folks,

Improving publicly-funded education in our state will necessitate the active involvement of people who possess credibility with our young people. Hopefully, Lee brings a credibility which his appearance at Morehouse will translate into improved images for teaching and learning in the minds of our youth. But one such spokesperson won’t be enough. We need to find quickly many more education-advocates who resonate with our young people.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alan Richard, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Arne Duncan at Morehouse and Meadowcreek High Monday http://bit.ly/i2fhLK [...]

HStchr

January 28th, 2011
11:58 am

“So many boys and girls grow up today without experiencing the impact of any significant adult male in their lives. This void can lead to tragic consequences in our communities, contributing to gang participation and teen pregnancy. Teaching is a powerful way to make a difference and turn this decline in male support into a rich, rewarding learning environment that can transform a young person.”

While I absolutely agree this statement, I have to say that experience has taught me that we are not always able to be the total influence a child needs. We really need our leaders and influential citizens to get involved in the community also. After decades of reading statements just like Lewis’s, I’m really frustrated with the continuing notion that the school is supposed to be the great fix for society’s ills. When those who have risen above poverty, drugs, dysfunctional homes/communities return and HELP guide those currently there, the whole system works infinitely better. We need community leaders to stop just telling us we have to help these kids and get in here and be part of the solution!

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
12:04 pm

HStchr

January 28th, 2011
11:58 am

As usual Lewis wants to address the symtom and not the cause.

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
12:25 pm

This event with Spike Lee won’t do anything! As the spouse of a black male teacher, I told my husband that had I known he was going to teach I probably wouldn’t have given him the time of day. It’s a taxing education environment today, and even more so for minority male teachers. And the belief that these men will replace the lack of male role models in these children’s lives is an added burden for many too face, especially those with families of their own. Then combine that with the low pay and a pension that requires a minimum of 10 years of service to be vested, and it’s just not a lucrative field for many.

I’m with HStchr. My husband is expected to be a father, uncle, and big brother to many of his students. That is draining when I still need him to be a husband and father at home. He is fantastic at it, but after only three years is considering what else he can do with his soon-to-have Masters degree.

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
12:31 pm

@Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta:

How so? Spike Lee hasn’t been very relevant in years, and that is coming from a 30-year-old black woman. The youth of Morehouse have obviously had fine images of teaching and learning throughout their educational careers, or they wouldn’t be there. neither he nor Arne Duncan bring any classroom experience to the table to make these young men overlook the many negatives of being a teacher today.

TheTruth

January 28th, 2011
12:51 pm

I am optimistic about today’s event. I am thrilled that Spike Lee will be attempting to help bring about change in education. A lack of males is a

TheTruth

January 28th, 2011
12:52 pm

As I was saying….

A lack of males in kids lives is an American issue.

Kah

January 28th, 2011
12:53 pm

Maureen,
Thanks for posting this article. It appears to be more PR moments for those in the spotlight here. I am a career changer that has completed the course work for a masters in special education as a deans list student and all I need to do is student teach to complete the process. Currently, I work in a public school system in a nonteaching role and I have been told that I have to quit my job to student teach. With the economy the way it is, I am in no position to do this. Enough of the rhetoric of the need for more educators. Where are the teaching jobs? Also, there are so many “roadblocks” to certification in place for those that are career changes to teaching.
Tonya, C. I am like your husband..what else can I do with a masters other than teach. It is not your husband’s job to fill the absent “male”role in these lives. When are parents going to be held accountable for their child’s education and not the teachers. The teachers did not chose the teaching profession to be foster parents, social workers, mediators,case managers, therapists, etc. I changed my career to be available for my child’s education and to share my desire to teach with others.
Kudos to Dr. No and HStchr’s comments

Helena

January 28th, 2011
12:55 pm

U. S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Congressman John Lewis and film producer Spike Lee will ask Morehouse College students to pursue teaching careers at a noon event at the Atlanta campus Monday.

Duncan: “Hey, college kids, become teachers! Then I can tell you over and over about how bad and ineffective you are! That is, unless you teach at a charter school!”

I adore John Lewis, and I’d be really interested to hear what Spike Lee has to say. But Duncan? Nope. (And I say this as a hardcore Democrat.)

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
1:07 pm

Kah:

In order to complete his Masters, my husband (also a career changer) had to take a three-month leave of absence. He got lucky and was able to teach because someone took a chance on him. It has been a strain on our finances. But I adore my husband, and would do anything to help him reach his goals. But even with his ‘bump’ after getting a Masters, he’ll hardly make more than I do in the corporate world with a high school diploma.

And he is everything you described along with being a father to our three. He is amazing at teaching, and everyone around him sees how hard he works to prove himself. But he will probably only last 2-3 more years if he can’t get a central office or administration gig. With everything coming down the pike (RTTT, the NCLB 2014 goals, & Performance Pay) it’s not really worth financially the drain on him emotionally and physically.

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
1:12 pm

“After the town hall meeting, MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson will announce his five-year national initiative to recruit, train and place 80,000 African American male teachers by 2015. Leaders from around the country will speak to a small group of young men about the need for them to become ambassadors for this initiative.”

This actually ticks me off. Instead of reaching out to those already in the classroom, grinding it out day in and day out, you go to newbies who have ZERO idea of what they are getting into? Really?

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
1:28 pm

“A lack of males in kids lives is an American issue”

Yes…and more of an issue for some Americans that others.

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
1:29 pm

“than others”

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

January 28th, 2011
1:30 pm

HStchr and Tonya,

A teacher is no substitute for an involved community, a father, an uncle or a big brother. No matter how caring and effective, a teacher cannot- and should not attempt to- replace community members and male kinfolk who may be missing from a child’s life.

Having said that, I’ll also say that good male teachers can provide appropriate male role models for young males who lack good men in their lives. In that sense, I hate to see any good male teachers, particularly Black ones, leave the profession.

But I do realize that the duties of a husband and father certainly trump those of a teacher.

Of course, if more males assumed their duties as husbands and fathers, we wouldn’t have a lot of these problems, would we?

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
1:33 pm

Put Arne on your pay no mind list as his tenure is attached directly to Obama. 2015 is a long way off and one election away.

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
1:33 pm

Dr NO:

And in less than a paragraph, you nail it again. It is NOT an American issue. Stop trying to spread the wealth of boo-boo (since I can’t say the other word). Black folk may not own the issue, but we seem to be sitting as Chairman of the Board and CEO.

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
1:36 pm

teacher&mom

January 28th, 2011
11:34 am

My guess? Arnes colossal BS is even apparent to such a youngling. I hope someone was standing at the ready with a vomit bag for lil Ms Cutie!

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
1:40 pm

This unholy trinity of Duncan, Lewis and Lee is just that. And after said conference they will pack up their bags and odds are nothing or next to nothing will be accomplished.

This is no more than a photo-op for Duncan, Lewis and perhaps some exposure for Spike and his dwindling/failing career.

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
1:55 pm

Dr NO

January 28th, 2011
2:25 pm

Looks as though Arne is saying to the little girl with her back to the camera…

“Hocus Pocus, Domi-Nocus you are getting sleepy sleepy and I need $1.25 from you little girl…yes…reach into your purse and give me your lunch money so I might purchase me a Zagnut bar. That darn Lewis ate my lunch on the way here and Im about to starve…”

Teacher Reader

January 28th, 2011
2:51 pm

@ APS Teacher couldn’t agree with you more.

Tired of African Americans being used by the government without realizing what is going on.

HStchr

January 28th, 2011
3:24 pm

Helena: @ your 12:55- ROFL With all the bad press we’re dealing with, it’s no wonder recruiting will be an issue. It already is in Math and Science.

Tonya: I am a single full-time Dad- some days I fall into bed and feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Thank God for my parents who take my boys some weekends so I can recover.

Actually, Dr. No, the absent father is becoming a big issue across cultures. Poverty used to be the big reason, but divorce seems to be causing problems as well. A great many dad become uninvolved after the divorce and moving away. Many of my kids have stepmoms who don’t want them around and the father acquiesces to the new wife. It goes beyond race and economics; we have a societal issue with parenting that we have to address, and soon.

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
3:39 pm

HStchr:

Like I said, I adore that man or we would be on the rocks. For a male teacher, it takes a really understanding spouse or partner; mentally, physically, and financially. My dreams of being a permanent SAHM are gone at this point. We tried it for 18 months but the struggle was soooo hard.

I agree lack of fathers is becoming a more pervasive issue in society as a whole. But in the black community, it’s an epidemic. The effect, at least IMO, is greater than that of other races because many times there are no other males to pick up the slack. Teachers cannot be the ones to fill these roles, or the divorce rate is going to start looking like that of law enforcement.

Jennifer

January 28th, 2011
3:40 pm

So the Meadowcreek forum is not open to the public ? I can’t tell you how many students I know from there who did NOT get a decent education. Shame. I bet the district has finally cleaned the place up after all these years of parents complaining at board meetings about the conditions at Meadowcreek.

tchr

January 28th, 2011
3:43 pm

Meadowcreek cheats. A week before the EOCT and GSHGT all the computer labs go down to 20 computers. Then the memo goes out. Teachers are to select their best performing students to take the tests on test day. In a class of 33 students, knocking the lowest 13 off the test will always bring up the scores.

If you talk to any Meadowcreek teachers you’ll find that the administration rules by fear. They let you know that your job is hanging by a string. Any action that doesn’t mesh with the administration’s desires gets you fired. Good thing there’s a large pool of desperate new/laid off teachers to fill the gaps. cf. the article about whistle blowerd getting harassed in APS: http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/01/23/aps-whistle-blowers-their-credibility-came-under-attack/

Meadowcreek might as well be the poster child for administration on teacher harassment.

Maureen Downey

January 28th, 2011
3:58 pm

@Jennifer, The release does not say the public can attend, but let me doublecheck. It is not unusual to bar the public at a daytime school visit by Duncan. I saw Duncan at Grady High school last year and the public could not attend as he met with students in classrooms.
Sloan Roach just told me that she is checking with US DOE.
Maureen

Maureen Downey

January 28th, 2011
4:03 pm

@tchr, I don’t understand how teachers can pick the best students as the students have to take the tests to graduate in the state of Georgia. The kids who don’t sit for the test can’t graduate.
Maureen

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
4:11 pm

@Maureen:

The scores are usually (if I’m not mistaken) based on the first round of test-takers? Taking the test later or on a make-up day may skew the results.

Maureen Downey

January 28th, 2011
4:13 pm

@tonya, So the issue is the test scores counted for accountability?
Maureen

admin

January 28th, 2011
4:26 pm

@tchr and @Tonya C.

Unfortunately, you both are incorrect. @tchr…Meadowcreek does not cheat. In fact, if you understood how testing works, you would know that what you are describing is ridiculous. Every student that is in 11th grade must test. One deciding factor is test participation, which mandates that 95% of your 11th graders are required to test or you automatically don’t make AYP. Check the data…Meadowcreek typically boasts around 98% – 99%.

@Tonya C…You are not as off base as @tchr. yes, the scores are based on the first round, but students taking it on a “make-up” day are still figured into the results. If the test was scheduled for Tuesday and a student is out, he/she would make it up on Friday for example. If they take it during another administration, if it is their first time taking the test…the scores are included.

Tonya C.

January 28th, 2011
4:35 pm

Admin:

Thanks. I didn’t really understand it, but I thought I’d take a shot interpreting some hearsay. I still wouldn’t put my kids in Meadowcreek, but academics aren’t as large of a factor as environment for me.

HStchr

January 28th, 2011
4:41 pm

Tonya- it it indeed an epidemic, and the cure isn’t simple. I lay a lot of the blame on the pop culture images the entertainment industry throws in the kids’ faces every day. There is a pervasive social attitude about the role of men and women that we could easily correct if the recording industry would step up and worry more about the messages they’re sending. Sex sells, and the residual damage to our kids makes me come home depressed and ready to throw in the towel many, many days. Hang in there- there’s great reward in being married to someone who is that self-sacrificing.

admin: you’re exactly right about the test percentages. Final AYP determination isn’t made until a round of testing (retesting and makeups) is done. It is possible to make it, and my school often has, after the makeup and retest in the summer. Testing 95% of kids became a requirement after many schools were found to be unenrolling kids for the week of testing and then re-enrolling them afterwards. You have to test 95% and account for the rest.

admin

January 28th, 2011
4:47 pm

@HStchr

Wow!! I have never even heard of that before! It’s sad that education has become so corrupt!

Tchr = fired teacher

January 28th, 2011
4:48 pm

Looks like “tchr” got fired from Meadowcreek and now has an axe to grind. Since you are completely clueless about how testing is done no wonder you were fired. Know the facts before you posts stupid things. Meadowcreek is obviously doing something very well and if you know anything about the students and the community that feeds into that school you would be very impressed.

HStchr

January 28th, 2011
5:03 pm

admin: I’m not sure how common that practice was, but I do recall witnessing it for a few years early in the NCLB debacle. Not many kids, but when you consider how much difference one percentage point can make and how few kids are needed to get that one point in many schools, you can see the temptation. Generally, it wasn’t about corruption as much as it was about getting chronic no-show kids off your roster whose only reason to come to school was to satisfy a probation requirement. They’d lay out as many days as possible and then show up long enough to get the probation officer to go away for another month. Actually, when you really look at it, it’s sad that we have to test kids who remain on roll by court order but who don’t come to school or just get in trouble when they’re there. The really sad fact is that the juvenile courts have few options for dealing with chronic problem kids. Once they hit 18 or commit a major felony, then they move on to adult court. Until then, it’s a vicious cycle of trip to YDC and back to school on court order. I have one who just came back today after a ten day stint in Juvie. All that was accomplished was keeping him out of school for two weeks so he’s that much further behind.

Jennifer

January 28th, 2011
5:33 pm

It breaks my heart now that I see the kids from Meadowcreek and other schools that silently went along in class, not disruptive, but invisible to the teachers – and now, after they graduate are struggling academically and dropping out of college, or not getting through to 4 years.

Volt

January 28th, 2011
5:41 pm

“With more than 1 million teachers expected to retire in the coming years, we have a historic opportunity to transform public education in America by calling on a new generation…”

Wait a minute, opportunity to transform schools? Sounds like Arne is saying the current generation of teachers has hindered transformation? Or maybe just not the best choice of words.

d

January 28th, 2011
7:12 pm

I don’t mind being held accountable for what I can control – I know people are probably tired of hearing teachers say this – but Arne came and spoke to the NEA national convention a couple of years ago – was cool to hear about 10,000 educators boo him when he said that student test scores should be part of our evaluation. I think the problem is not the process of assessment, if it is done correctly, but that’s not easy enough. Run the scantron and that’ll tell us how a teacher is doing, right, Arne?

Kah

January 28th, 2011
7:52 pm

I hear you “D”…be accountable for what you can control. Arne Duncan does not have any experience as a classroom teacher or school administrator…looks like being a Harvard grad, seats on many boards, appointed position to be the CEO of Chicago Public Schools and friends of the President got him the top job of Secretary of Education. Now if there is a shift in the majority of the teachers being males, watch how the salary will increase. I have truly enjoyed the comments on this blog especially from Tonya C..kudos to your husband and to you for the support& sacrifices that you all have made for him to teach.

ScienceTeacher671

January 28th, 2011
9:04 pm

IIRC, the “Chicago miracle” has turned out to be even less miraculous than the “Texas miracle”.

Jennifer

January 28th, 2011
10:28 pm

Look – Meadowcreek teachers and students deserve to be highlighted, this is an honor. I am thankful that Arne is not headed to the golden fair hair child Brookwood. And on top of that – the decade transformation from African American majority to Hispanic majority and the white and asian flight really does stand out among schools in Georgia. The admin should care more about each student and what they are learning for sure too many are going uneducated. But as for the honor of having Arne Duncan in their school – props to the kids and teachers. BUT – it is really sad that the event is at 2:30 so Secretary Duncan cannot actually see the hum and buzz of the student body. Too bad.

Ed Johnson

January 28th, 2011
10:33 pm

@Volt (”Wait a minute, opportunity to transform schools?”):

Yes, Volt, Obama’s opportunity to transform schools in accordance with The Broad Foundation and the Gates Foundation agendas.

Obama is rigidly aligned with these foundations to establish free-market prosperity on the backs of “a disconnected and undereducated population.” It is a population being made progressively less capable to grasp let alone sustain ideals of democracy, civility, justice, humanness, etc. (Prima facie evidence includes the autocratic superintendency of Atlanta Public Schools, with controlling involvement by the so-called Atlanta business and civic community over the past decade.)

The following frightening points highlight alignment between Obama and The Broad Foundation, as the foundation’s 2009/10 annual report boasts:

“The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.”

“With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.”

“Duncan now has five Broad Residents and alumni working with him in the U.S. Department of Education.”

“But the election of President Barack Obama, who has embraced an education reform agenda that in many ways mirrors the work we have done, tells us we’re moving in the right direction.”

“Encouraged by the progressive leadership of Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan, The Broad Foundation invests $4.5 million for Chicago Public Schools to launch a new data system to streamline its human resource systems.”

“The Broad Center names an independent board of directors chaired by New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein and including Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan (later named U.S. secretary of education), ….”

“Broad Superintendents Academy graduate Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana is appointed by President Barack Obama as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education.”

“Three members of The Broad Foundation executive staff are loaned to the U.S. Department of Education, led by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The “loaned executives” assist in the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as it relates to distribution of education funds.”

“President-elect Barack Obama names Eric Lander, the founding director of the Broad Institute, a co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a group that assists the president in making decisions on science and technology policy.”

If we are to inculcate within today’s children long-term sustainability of democratic and other desirable ideals, then we must think critically about wanting Obama to continue in the Whitehouse for a second term. If Obama goes, so will Duncan.

Kah

January 28th, 2011
10:58 pm

Thanks Mr. Johnson for this mind blowing information regarding the Broad Foundation and how this administration is connected to them.