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Topic: An Open Letter to Arne Duncan
Replies: 10   Last Post: Mar 25, 2010 8:56 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: An Open Letter to Arne Duncan
Posted: Mar 23, 2010 10:00 PM
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I refer to Jerry Becker post of Mar 24, 2010 1:10 AM of Walt Garnder's "Open Letter to Arne Duncan" (pasted below my signature), and I've read the OpEd piece Mr Gardner points to. I've also seen some of the Education Secretary's exhortations and have also read some of the reports from his Department that have appeared in the press.

It strikes me mainly that Mr Duncan's team has not adequately studied what the purpose of the public schools might and should be and that therefore the plans they have drawn up are bound to be deficient in many respects.

I may be mistaken, but I guess Haim and Co. find themselves in the peculiar position of enjoying every bit of the Education Secretary's excoriation without exception of the public school system but not knowing how to give approval to this aspect of the 'Obamination' they had so decried in the past.

> *****************************
> From Education Week (Online) [American Education's
> s Newspaper of Record], Monday, March 22, 2010. See
> heck/2010/03/an_open_letter_to_arne_duncan.html
> *****************************
> An Open Letter to Arne Duncan
> By Walt Gardner
> Dear Mr. Secretary,
> You are at the helm of a ship that is entering
> uncharted waters.
> Whether the voyage is successful depends in large
> part on your judgment. The eyes of the nation are on
> you as you attempt to navigate.
> I'd like to remind you that the morale of teachers
> plays an indispensable role. But unfortunately I don't
> think you appreciate the harm you've done by
> inordinately focusing on the failures of
> schools. Your remarks leave taxpayers with the
> distinct impression that teachers are not doing their
> jobs and that schools are shortchanging their students.
> There are 3.2 million teachers who teach 50 million
> students in 98,000 public schools, according to
> Education Department data. Some are unquestionably
> guilty as you charge. But countless schools are
> world-class. Why don't the latter deserve as much
> praise as the amount of condemnation you heap on the
> former? By refusing to provide
> balance in your comments, you unwittingly undermine
> your agenda.
> The countries that outperform the U.S. on tests of
> international competition take a totally different
> approach to school reform. They know that teachers are
> not miracle workers. No matter how dedicated,
> knowledgeable and trained, they cannot possibly
> provide a quality education for their students by
> themselves. That's why these countries view educating
> the young as a collaborative effort by
> teachers, parents and the community.
> Business leaders certainly have the right to make
> their voices heard in the ongoing debate. But public
> schools do not exist exclusively to
> meet their needs. The crisis they have manufactured
> to justify their criticism is nothing new. To
> understand the basis for this assessment, I refer you
> to my op-ed that was published in the
> international edition of the New York Times on Jan.
> 14, 2008 ("The 'crisis' of U.S. education" -- see
> ner.1.9196672.html).
> I hope you will seriously consider my views at this
> crossroads in educational history. Without the support
> of teachers, you will squander the unprecedented
> opportunity you have. That would be a
> tragedy for the nation.
> Sincerely,
> Walt Gardner
> ***********************************************
> --
> Jerry P. Becker
> Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
> Southern Illinois University
> 625 Wham Drive
> Mail Code 4610
> Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
> Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
> (618) 457-8903 [H]
> Fax: (618) 453-4244
> E-mail:

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