Arne Duncan wants to slam dunk bricks on charter school haters

“We will come down like a ton of bricks on states that treat charter schools unfairly.” Arne Said it. You’ve read it.

Depending on where you read Slam Dunc’s statement you will get a slightly different version of the story. Just like a top chef, Mike Klonsky at Small Talk serves up Ed Sec Duncan’s quote done three ways.

from Small Talk:

Charter school lobbyist Gary Naeyaert, tweets Duncan’s threat from the floor of the national charter school conferences like this:

“We will come down like a ton of bricks on states that treat charter schools unfairly.”

Chicago’s WGN quotes Duncan this way:

Secretary Arne Duncan has threatened to “come down like a ton of bricks” on anyone who defies the administration’s plans to bring relief to states who face layoffs because of budget cuts.

ASCD Smart Brief says the bricks are just for governors (whew!) :

Secretary Arne Duncan, who threatened to “come down like a ton of bricks” on governors who attempt to divert education stimulus funds.

What is Duncan saying here? Well this is the same kind of strong arm tactics the government employs to influence state policy. You don’t have to do what we ask, but that nice stimulus money you were hoping for might just go elsewhere. It’s a lot like economic sanctions on misbehaving nations.

To states already practically working with the lights off to save money, the lack of funding will indeed come down like a ton of bricks on them. This could be especially damaging to school districts agonizing over what programs they can afford already.

Maine itself could be in Duncan’s sights. Recently Maine voted down LD 1438 a bill to allow charter schools in the state. The rejection of the bill, if I may digress a moment, had nothing to do with Duncan’s push for charters. Some touted the vote as a Maine legislators standing up to the menacing Ed Sec Duncan. Though Duncan’s insistence that states support charters or die and the vote in Maine occurred around the same time, as a Mainer I can assure they were unrelated.

Back to the matter at hand.

States have already been told they put themselves at a “competitive disadvantage” for stimulus funds by not supporting charters. Now Duncan is backing that with even stronger language. Dunc’s words will most likely be backed with action. Mainers are sure to lose out when that action comes.