Breaking News: Sec. Duncan and Sec. Bennett are Kissing Cousins

In today’s Breaking News comic Sec. Duncan and Sec. Bennett discuss their relations. For the Millennials reading this blog I will start with who Sec. Bennett is/was.


William John “Bill” Bennett (born July 31, 1943) is an American conservative punditpolitician, and political theorist. He served as United States Secretary of Education from 1985 to 1988. He also held the post of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under George H. W. Bush. In 2000, he co-founded K12, a for-profit online education corporation which is publicly traded.

What were/are Sec. Bennett’s priorities: Again, Wikipedia:

Bennett has tangled with the educational establishment (which he dubbed “the blob” or bloated educational bureaucracy) over the following reform measures, which he espoused:

  • Competency testing for teachers
  • Opening the teaching profession to knowledgeable individuals who have not graduated from “schools of education”
  • Performance-based pay
  • Holding educators accountable for how much children learn
  • A national examination to find out exactly how much our children know
  • Parental choice of schools

So let’s turn to Secretary Duncan.

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 10.37.02 AM

Are Sec. Duncan and Sec. Bennet Ed Policy Kissing Cousins?

  • Competency testing for teachers


  • Opening the teaching profession to knowledgeable individuals who have not graduated from “schools of education”


  • Performance-based pay


  • Holding educators accountable for how much children learn

Check Race To The Top and Growth Models  (See also Politicians v. Experts: The Latest on “Value-added” Modeling)

  • A national examination to find out exactly how much our children know

Well, not yet. But there is the gateway drug Common Core.

  • Parental choice of schools

Yes and No, but mostly Yes.

Arne Duncan’s approach is consistent with Obama’s plagarism of Republican ideas (See George H.W. Obama’s education platform: Republicans should be flattered and Democrats ashamed?) How about they get some new ideas instead of passing off old ideas as Change?

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  • As we all know (or I hope we all know), Obama/Duncan/Bennet’s education policy have at least one element that is clearly a filter, a segregationist movement to provide higher education opportunities to only a few students from financially well-off famlies. And that is no other than a national standardized tests.

    I am not so sure the “parent-choice” policy has anything to do with improving education opportunities to poor students, but offer the best education business opportunity to others.

    But listen, we will not achieve anything at all by just pointing out the “treason” these politics have committed against the poor and minorities. The poor must be educated, trained, to be the ones who shape education policy, whichever way they want to. Not manipulating them like pro-charter schools business people are doing; using them as bait.

    Our aim must be to put in practice ASAP an education policy advocacy plan, starting ground-up, so every single parent of every single ethnicity becomes familiar with and knowledgeable in what takes to be an education advocate and lobbyist. Yes, lobbyist. Because what we need is an army of parents who, from California to Florida and from Maine to Alaska, become education lobbyists, not just “active in school” which will not happen until they know what is going on behind education doors.

    Lourdes Pérez Ramírez

    HispanEduca is a nonprofit organization, founded and registered in the state of Florida by Hispanic educators and parents.

    Our mission is to educate and empower Hispanic parents, especially from low-income families in education lobbying so they have the opportunity to influence and develop education policy that help increase Hispanic/Latino education attainment levels.


  • Yes, the Obama administration now appears to have been the Republicans’ “smart bomb,” planted to go off at exactly the right time to prevent any movement whatsoever and to secure their stranglehold on “change.” No wonder they campaigned so hard against Hillary, who was the only one in 2008 to say NCLB needs to be repealed and that she wanted to work with teachers/parents collaboratively to create education change. Duncan is holding the office we all thought would go to Linda Darling-Hammond, naïve and hopeful as we were that Obama, a progressive Demo, or so we were led to believe, would “do the right thing.” Silly us!

    Even the flaming liberals on Common Ground were duped, so all I can say is “Nice work, Karl Rove.” Duncan has been the shill for some kind of “bipartisan” approach to “closing the gap” since his arrival, jumping right in with those a friend of mine calls the “corporate and philanthropic colonialists.” Thanks for showing us precisely how “bipartisan” Obama-Duncan really are and how very far they are from anything real educators would support. I am pleased to see that five or six years in to my own attempt at telling the truth, more and more people are picking up on the real needs of kids, teachers, parents, and schools and are beginning to speak up AND follow the money.


  • Monty J. Thornburg, Ph.D.

    I think your analogy is true and very troubling at the same time.
    Most Democrats, I think, only want to talk about poll tested ideas. For example, they lack the “courage” to speak out about poor people or egalitarian education, e.g., the value of public schools- even if they believe in them. They will speak for the “middle class” and for “education choice” in a muddled and safe manner. Thus, Arne Duncan appears to mimic Wm. Bennett. In the current political climate one is never quite sure where many democrats including the President stand on poverty and education!
    At least with Bill Bennett and the Republicans there’s no longer any ambiguity, as there once was.
    I received a packet of postage stamps from a friend today, marked “courage.” They are of Rosa Parks, sent, because my friend knows of my growing respect for her. She did speak up unambiguously her entire life. She spoke for the poor, against racism, against apartheid and segregation, and, she spoke always for equality and economic justice. However, remarkably, the politicians managed to muddle the real meaning of what she stood for!
    Read: Theoharis, J. (2013) “The rebellious life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” to understand how even an iconic figure who stood up can have the meaning of courage muddled.


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