Arne Duncan on Education



$4.3B to induce states to expand charter schools

The idea of the NewSchools Venture Fund was to help people analyze what's not working and inspire entrepreneurs to solve problems. They became known as "venture philanthropists" and called themselves investors rather than donors, seeking returns in the form of sweeping changes to public schooling. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan incorporated many of these goals into Race to the Top, a $4.3 billion initiative that induced states to expand charter schools and to tie teachers' evaluations, pay, and job security to growth in their students' standardized test scores. The stated goal was to put single-minded focus on what was best for children, even at the expense of upending adult lives and livelihoods.

In the beginning, Demo

Source: The Prize: America's Schools, by Dale Russakoff, p. 9 , Sep 8, 2015

Engage innovation community with early learning community

The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge will reward states that create comprehensive plans to transform early learning systems with better coordination, clearer learning standards, and meaningful workforce development. Secretary Duncan and Secretary Sebelius also challenged the broader innovation community--leading researchers, high-tech entrepreneurs, foundations, non-profits and others--to engage with the early learning community and to close the school readiness gap. States applying for challenge grants will be encouraged to increase access to quality early learning programs for low income and disadvantaged children, design integrated and transparent systems that align their early care and education programs, bolster training and support for the early learning workforce, create robust evaluation systems to document and share effective practices and successful programs, and help parents make informed decisions about care for their children.
Source: Press release: $500 Million for Race to the Top , May 25, 2011

OpEd: Supports merit pay but it is a politicized process

I can't answer if I think merit pay is good, because I don't know what the merit is based on. If it's based on total community involvement, taking into account the area and the parents and the support of the community itself, that's something else. But if it's going to be based solely on a standardized score, I don't know. If you leave it up to individuals, then you're just leaving it open to corruption. I just think there's too many ways to bastardize the system.

This is coming out of Education Secretary Duncan's office, too. And it has been proven many times that it doesn't work. It destroys the integrity of the profession within the school building. It's very divisive in its nature. It doesn't encourage harmony and cooperation. It flies against that philosophy. They say it does, but it doesn't. Talk to school systems that have it; colleges have it. It becomes a very politicized process.

Source: Teachers Under Attack!, by Mike Spina, p.53-54 , Feb 17, 2011

NCLB is desperately underfunded

Many complain that the No Child Left Behind law forces educators to "teach to the test." Well, if it is a sound test that measures knowledge of the basics, that is a good thing.

Another line of attack on NCLB is that it is "desperately under-funded," in the words of Obama's secretary of education, Arne Duncan. This is nonsense. Despite slowing the overall growth of discretionary non-security spending, Bush increased deferral outlays one elementary and secondary education by 34%. States have complained that the federal government imposed new unfounded costs on them. Connecticut even sued the federal government over this issue. But in the end, it lost. The reason is simple: the federal government pays the cost of testing. What critics really want is for Washington to pay for the job that states should already be doing--making certain every student learns.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.238 , Nov 2, 2010

2009: No new students into DC voucher program

The current fight in Washington, D.C. is between parents, who want to continue to have the choice of effective private schools with a coupon from the government, and the unionized bureaucracy, which is insisting on forcing the children back into failing government schools. Virtually all the parents who want to keep getting government coupons are African American. Yet Democrats in Congress are trying to kill the program in order to appease school union bureaucrats. In fact, even before Congress could end the program, in April 2009 Education Secretary Arne Duncan decided not to admit any new students to the D.C. voucher program. Two hundred low-income families received notice that their children's scholarships were being rescinded due to Duncan's decision It seems to matter little to those defending the status quo when poor families are being cheated. The political power of the cheaters is simply too great for the poor and their allies to take on.
Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 59 , Dec 18, 2007

Allow More Flexibility Under No Child Left Behind

Congress should maintain NCLB's framework of high expectations and accountability. But it should also amend the law to give schools, districts and states the maximum amount flexibility possible--particularly districts like ours with a strong track record of academic achievement and tough accountability.
Source: Statement Before the House Subcommittee on Education Reform , Aug 28, 2006

Double funding for No Child left behind

Funding education is simply the best long-term investment Congress can make. Money invested now will pay us back for decades. My challenge is this: double the funding for NCLB within five years. Here is what you will get in return: presidents and pilots, doctors and diplomats, electricians and engineers. You will get the next generation of citizens ready to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.
Source: Statement Before the House Subcommittee on Education Reform , Aug 26, 2006

Establish extracurricular programs for students

These are all natural parts of students' healthy emotional and intellectual development. We have to offer these things. If we're not able to offer them during the school day, we have to offer them during the non-school hours.
Source: Remarks at Coalition for Community Schools Press Briefing , May 13, 2003

Establish programs which educate parents and community.

Focus not just on our students, but on parents. In our community centers and our schools we're offering GED classes, sometimes in some schools in two different languages; ESL; counseling classes; sewing classes; computer classes, where some of our students are helping teach their parents on the computer. So as our schools become community centers, we're convinced that it is going to be extraordinarily beneficial to our students long-term.
Source: Remarks at Coalition for Community Schools Press Briefing , May 13, 2003

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Page last updated: Sep 27, 2018