Wednesday, February 4, 2009

SecEd Arne Duncan

I've had very little to say on the subject of Arne Duncan, because I don't know a whole lot about him. A lot of people whom I label "reformers," and am therefore suspicious of (1), but who are also a whole lot smarter and more informed than I am, are cautiously optimistic about him. I look forward to changes to NCLB--better funding for failing schools, testing that makes sense and examines things other than a student's ability to fill in bubbles, things like that.

(1) I don't mistrust reforms. I mistrust reformers. As I was learning about how the educational world works, "reformer" meant "someone trying to destroy public education in favor of thinly-veiled parochial schools. I'm trying to change my views of both Arne Duncan and charter schools(2).

(2) although I still think that anything a charter school can do, a public school can (or at least should be able to) do better, more thoroughly, and with greater accountability.


Randy Corn said...

I've come to think of all good teachers and administrators as reformers. This is because I have not developed an aversion to the term and consider reformers as those who are working to make change for the better. Education is changing. It's good to be a reformer.

JohnCosby said...

I hadn't thought about the people who work to improve schools as reformers before, but of course, that's what they are. The word "reformer," in the context used in the post, is someone who thinks that the public school system is broken, and the only solution is to replace it with something identical in every important respect, and trust that school choice will make teachers work harder for free and students magically score better on standardized tests. But you're right--the people who make the profession better, the ones who practice what we all know, the ones who show their students the doorway to the wide world beyond, they are reformers in the best sense of the word. I hope someday to count myself among them.