Duncan Says No to Status Quo – Darling-Hammond not joining DOE

Linda Darling-Hammond has recently announced she will not be offered a position in the Department of Education. Darling-Hammond stated that some things had “persuaded” her to stay in California to support Obama’s education policies from there.

Many in the education reform community have shown disappointment. Some have even gone as far as to accuse Arne Duncan, Joel Klein, Michele Rhee, and others of smearing Darling-Hammond’s reputation. They feel threatened by the preeminent authority on teacher quality one poster said.

My opinion is more in line with this one from a New Republic article.

Several reformers had indicated in interviews that having Darling-Hammond in the second-in-command role would symbolically, and possibly substantively, undermine Obama’s credentials as an education change-agent.

Though it is always nice to have a variety of voices and opinions, I think Linda Darling-Hammond’s views are too far from the others on Arne Duncan’s team for them to get any real work done. Duncan and Obama are part of the new breed of reformers. Darling-Hammond, though she claims otherwise, is squarely in the status quo.

from Flypaper

Dr. Darling-Hammond: You wrote that No Child Left Behind “layers onto a grossly unequal—and, in many communities, inadequately funded-school system a set of unmeetable test score targets that disproportionately penalize schools serving the neediest students” (p. 4). In which states do you think test score targets are “unmeetable” by the neediest students? Are you aware that several studies have found most state standards and test “cut scores” to be set at laughably low levels? Do you think needy students are incapable of reaching even these minimal standards?

Dr. Darling-Hammond: About the NCLB law, you wrote that “Some believe this is a prelude to voucher proposals aimed at privatizing the education system” (p. 4). Do you include yourself among the “some”? If so, how do you explain the law’s strong support from the chairman of this committee, Senator Edward Kennedy, as well as most of the Democrats on this panel? Do you believe that we are committed to “privatizing the education system”?

Dr. Darling-Hammond: You consistently point out the inequities in our school system, and complain that federal funding (less than 10 percent of what’s spent on k-12 education) is too little to correct the awful conditions in many schools (p. 8). How much federal money would be enough? Another $25 billion? (That would push the federal share close to 15 percent.) Another $50 billion? (20 percent) And in the meantime, are you proposing to scrap the accountability provisions associated with the law?

In a utopian world, schools would be an agent of social change. Everyone deserves an equal education, but schools should not be expected to solve our social ills. Schools should be expected to equip our children with the basic skills to pursue anything they wish.

I leave you with a thought by John Adams

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.


Shanghi Hillary – Cilton’s adventures in China

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in China chit chatting about a variety of issues, namely that China save our economic asses.

from ABC News

“I appreciate greatly the Chinese government’s continuing confidence in United States treasuries. I think this is well-grounded confidence,” she said. “We have every reason to believe that the United States and China will recover, and together we will help lead the world recovery.”

I worry a great deal about becoming even more indebted to China. They own so much of our infrastructure. We owe a lot to them in loans. Should they ever call us on that we’d be absolutely screwed. They’d be shooting themselves in the foot by destroying such a integral trading partner. So if they ever did ask for repayment in full I’d imagine Armageddon would not be far off.

Clinton also discussed environmental policy with the Chinese.

from NY Times

“When we were industrializing and growing, we didn’t know any better; neither did Europe,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Now we’re smart enough to figure out how to have the right kind of growth.”

With China being the leading producer of carbon dioxide this is both an ambitious goal and a necessary one. Considering the flow of the jet stream, we have a huge interest in China’s air pollution. Just as midwestern factories led to poor air quality here in New England, China’s grimy air floats right over here.

Human rights groups however are none too pleased with Clinton’s priorities. Even though Clinton stated that human rights issues in China were part of long term goals, they would not be the focus of this trip. Clinton rightly stated that human rights issues”can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crises.” Human Rights Watch wrote a letter. Amnesty International wagged a stern finger of disappointment.

Human rights watches are integral. Someone should be paying attention to abuses here and abroad. I must ask though, are these people so narrowly focuses on their work that they are missing the big picture. Before the economic is back on track we can’t worry about other Chinese offenses. It should be clear to all these people that the economy is a priority above all others. If the economy collapses these rights workers will be on the streets just like the rest of us. Think of the rights abuses that will occur then. But of course they aren’t. They can’t seem to take their blinders off long enough to see city bus barring down on them as they cross the street.

Clearly these human rights organization understand nothing about how foreign policy works. There is black and there is white. There is abuse. Stop it. Why can’t Hillary see that? What Hillary thankfully knows is that you don’t spit in the face of the person your holding your hand out to. Say you are in dire need of some cash. You lost your job and the repo man is eyeing your car. You go to your friend looking for help. Once at their house you say, “I can’t believe you let your kids watch those violent cartoons, let alone any TV period. What’s the matter with you? Don’t you know you’re destroying your kids brain! By the way I need some money.” Do you think you’d get that money?

Neither does Hillary.