Arne Duncan, a Frankenstein first loosed upon America’s schools by ‘da Mayor,’ had his phony national education program, Race-to-the-Top, openly ridiculed by his creator.
Da Mayor blasted the national program championed by the education monster he unleashed on Chicago when he assumed mayoral control of schools in 1995. In doing so, Richard M. Daley has joined the growing ranks of officials publicly denouncing or questioning SecEd Arne Duncan’s Race-to-the-Top (RTTT) reform initiative. Daley declared, ‘You leave no child left behind. You race to the top. Next year, you race to the bottom. Next year, you race to the side. Everybody’s racing to something. Why can’t you send us money to build our schools . . . all the teachers know that these are just political slogans. We should end it.‘
I have never known the Peasant King to be so articulate and passionately accurate while chewing gum at the same time. Sure, Daley was ranting because Chicago Public Schools (CPS) failed to get a single dime of the $4 billion Duncan dangles in front of school systems in order to get them to see his dim vision of K-12 pedagogy. Nineteen states vied for a piece of the pie and Illinois was not one of the ten that were successful. It amounts to a $400 million ‘fail’ for the Land-of-Lincoln.
What seemed to incense Daley the most was that Chicago had to rely on a State of Illinois education team to compete for them. Daley complained, ‘Ron Huberman (CPS CEO) should have made the presentation with a team about the things we’ve done with cooperation from principals and students and parents. That’s a great story.’
True Mayor, it is only a story, and one not based in any kind of reality that improves the lives of Chicago’s school children who cannot get into one of a handful of special magnet schools set aside for the offspring of the wealthy and well-connected.
It has been heavily chronicled that the Daley lineage of CPS leaders, Paul Vallas, Duncan, and Huberman were neither educated in the science of teaching nor experienced at it for even a single moment. Incredibly, not one of these three men ever taught school! That is likely why the Illinois team did not include Duncan’s clone, his successor, Huberman. However, the New York team included the New York City Schools Superintendent, Joel Klein, and Washington D.C.’s contingent included Superintendent Michelle Rhee, and they both got their slice of Duncan pie. The difference was that Klein and Rhee were teachers who rose to the top of their profession, Huberman’s only formal job training was at the Chicago Police Academy.
Daley tried to dance around the monster’s footprint when reminded that it was his Frankenstein was in charge of the program. In a classic democrat tapdance Daley whined, ‘You have to understand, 99.9 percent of the people will be there after Obama, so remember that.’
For the record, there were two rounds of competition in which over 525 Illinois school districts submitted school reform proposals designed to conform to RTTT guidelines. (There are approximately 900 districts in Illinois) It should be noted that the Chicago Teachers Union declined to support the initiative. In round one, Illinois received 39 points out of a possible 45. However, in round two, our state received only 34.6 points coming in fifteenth place among the 19 competing second-round states.
Each state was graded on four categories, 1) Turning around low-performing schools, 2) Improving teacher and principal effectiveness 3) Implementing common standards and testing, and 4) Bolstering data systems. Anyone familiar with Chicago’s horrid school system knows that all Duncan and Huberman did to turn schools around was to close them, fire veteran teachers and open an unproven charter school with rookies in its place. If you re-read categories two through four it is obvious that nothing some nerd can write or say about standards or data systems is going to help improve a system that counts child homicides with the same regularity with which it tallies school lunches. You cannot improve a ghetto school by implementing paper standards, you gotta do something to get the kids to work harder, smarter, and longer.
Look, Daley is angry that the nearly one billion dollar deficit in the CPS budget is staring him in the face while Frankenstein denies him precious millions in RTTT funds. None of these pretenders: Daley, Huberman, or the Monster can fix broken schools. None of their smoke-and-mirror scams work. Indeed, none of these men have any intention of improving schools. They do not know how. This multi-billion dollar pot of money provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is simply a devious vehicle to acquire national control of locally managed school systems just as the Health Care Bill is structured to give total control of your body’s wellness to the federal government.
Daley’s goofy squeals are drawing embarrassing attention to another element of the failed Obama administration, and the Peasant King has unwittingly joined with the truth-tellers who are warning us that the emperor has no clothes.