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Duncan Pros and Cons

Here

is a running list of some of the main strengths and weakness of Arne

Duncan from his seven years as head of the Chicago public schools:

Strengths:

Lasted seven years -- a lot longer than many predicted.

▪ State test scores have increased every year

Duncan

has been in office, according to the board of education.

Duncan

has by all accounts improved tremendously as a public speaker.

▪ Sends his daughter to a local public school.

▪ Strong supporter of community schools.

▪ Early critic of NCLB testing, tutoring, and transfer requirements

▪ Chicago participates in Roland Fryer "learn to earn" program. ▪ Tall,

skinny, and with a funny name -- just like his soon-to-be-boss! ▪ Has

more gray in his hair than it seems from this AP pic.

Weaknesses:

Chicago

has never been a finalist for the Broad education prize for urban school reform.

Chicago

’s NAEP scores lag many other big city districts, according to TUDA.

F

ailed to win substantial concessions from the Chicago Teachers Union in the last contract.

▪  Failed to expand the highly restrictive charter school cap for

Chicago (30)

.

▪  Renaissance 2010 disrupted the education of thousands of students in the early years esp.

▪ 

Duncan

’s reform efforts have failed to attract (or retain) white and middle-class families.

▪ Criticized by Blagojevich for only having offered free school bus rides in exchange for the Senate seat.

What am I missing?

46 comments

Hey BC from NYC wrote 5 years 39 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

You are right on with your comments. Now Arne is your problem too, since he is a national overlord of schools.
best wishes from Chi-town. Our rapidly falling temperatures can only be surpassed by the high school drop out rate ARNE made, kept and left for us.

BC wrote 5 years 39 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I'm a NYC teacher with 3 masters degrees in education, working on her PhD, and I just can't see how anyone who hasn't stepped into a classroom can possibly understand all of the elements of education! BTW I worked other jobs in offices etc before this one and I can absolutely say without a doubt that it is very different than anything else I can see. When you have a problem or incident it is in front of 29 other people, you need to deal with that as well as keep those 29 others from getting off track and educate somewhere along the way. No degree can prep you for that. You must live it and then apply the education and strategy to help you along the way. He may be very intelligent (and athletic) but how can he relate to my problems? How can he make them better? He has never suffered them? He had two parents who seem to have been very involved. Can he relate to my kids who may be abused, negleted, or born into gangs? I'm reading very little that I support. I'm not even sure if Obama choosing him is the problem. I think that the fact he managed to get to be Chicago Schools CEO is the first problem. The fact that he was then nominated and supported by both sides of this government is frightening!!

George N Schmidt wrote 5 years 42 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

"I do think Arne Duncan had the best intentions when he took over CPS but areas such as special education require extensive specialized experience. He was forced to rely on dubious information from OSS. Right now specialized services is loaded with inexperienced personnel some of whom are not even tenured teachers so they have little or no practical knowledge of what is involved in the "day to day in the schools" aspect of special education..." ("Annie" this morning).

Annie, Arne Duncan was "CEO" of CPS for more than seven years. His name appeared on every Board Report hiring Dykema Gossett (the outside law firm that cost the Board more than a million dollars the past five years) to fight against enforcement of Corey H. Arne's personal word was placed behind the phony claim that CPS had a huge "deficit" in 2006 that "necessitated" the reduction of special education budgets by $26 million.

I personally heard him try and justify those lies (the opposition to Corey H continuing; the budget lies that forced out hundreds of special ed teacher, aides, and SECAs) at media events during those years.

How can you possibly believe that his intentions were somehow pure when his every major action (right down to the current staffing of OSS) was in the opposite direction. He was against public schools, especially where those services (as public schools) were not "efficient." The least "efficient" services (somethings, as as at Blair) require more than one adult per child. Special needs children are the first thrown overboard under and system that preaches social Darwinism, which is the gospel Arne Duncan believed in, preached, and practiced.

Sorry. You're wrong. I was taught by two parents who were in combat during World War II to pay attention to what people actually did, not to impressions or to what they claimed to be doing.

There was not one vicious action by Arne Duncan during his more than seven years in office that was not preceded by a lengthy speech about how he was doing it in the best interests of "the children."

anniesullivan wrote 5 years 42 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

As a veteran teacher I have always hoped that the next superintendent would be the one to help the students, staff and parents but that hope has died. Perhaps, CPS should be run by a specialized quartet-a finance person, a special education person, a person experienced in grammmar schools and a person experienced in high schools. (recent experience)

Special education under Arnie Duncan is still inadequate as evidenced by the recent refusal of the court system to remove the Corey H. decree. CPS has asked for the monitors to be removed as if CPS was now in compliance with federal law.
What is even scarier, is that even with the court oversight, CPS blantantly refuses to follow special education law.

I do think Arne Duncan had the best intentions when he took over CPS but areas such as special education require extensive specialized experience. He was forced to rely on dubious information from OSS.

Right now specialized services is loaded with inexperienced personnel some of whom are not even tenured teachers so they have little or no practical knowledge of what is involved in the "day to day in the schools" aspect of special education.

question wrote 5 years 42 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

is Adam Bee a satirical personality too?

right on nate wrote 5 years 42 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

God bles you--your resume is fummy, but sad because it is true.

Nate Peele wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I think you're 100% correct. That's why George Bush's pick of John Bolton for the UN was so perfect. Afterall, who better to reform the UN than somebody hated by the UN. Who better to reform schools that somebody who is disliked by the teachers who worked under him. Not only that, but his experience with non-bid contracts like IMPACT make him even more experienced than a lot of people in the Bush administration were before taking office.

Adam Bee wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

These comments are hilarious. To any non-teacher, the fact that teachers hate Duncan may be his biggest pro.

You guys need to just pop in another VHS and chill out.

To Nate Peele wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Very, Very funny stuff. Love the resume! No-bid contracts, etc. You're brilliant!!!

cermak_rd wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

People are saying that Obama owed Daley? How is it helpful to Daley for Obama to take Arnie? Was the mayor tired of Arnie and unwilling to fire him? That doesn't sound like hizzoner.

Nate Peele wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I couldn't limit my thoughts to 500 words so I posted in my own blog:

[url=http://thatsrightnate.com/2008/12/16/duncan-right-choice-for-education-chief/ new=true]Duncan Right Choice for Education Chief[/url]

Basketball! wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

"What skills does Obama see in him that would compensate for the vague deficiencies the commenters here seem to believe exist (though they can't specify them articulately)"
basketball. He is a follower not a leader and BO owed daley.
He is leaving chi-town in chaos and so he is gone and the chaos takes over with only Arne to blame--but he is gone to the bigger job.
What a mess and shame on BO.

rodentface wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Mike,

I don't dislike Mr. Duncan at all. I just think the policies he has approved of and presided over are a major blow to the public service nature of education. Despite all the talk of school choice, Chicago's school system is making a major push to serve only some of its students, not all of its students.

CPS is now a 3-tiered system: magnets at the top, selective enrollment charters in the middle (all charters are selective enrollment - only 32% of students at charters come from the neighborhoods in which the schools reside), and neighborhood schools at the bottom. The distribution of resources to these three tiers is blatantly inequitable.

As a relative newcomer to teaching after a career in another field, I have no idea how Mr. Duncan compares to his predecessors. But I do know that the damage to families, schools, and communities caused by closed schools, turnarounds, and the proliferation of privatization under the guise of 'choice' is extensive.

I also know that during Mr. Duncan's tenure CPS has operated with extreme secrecy and without meaningful input from and consultation with parents, communities, and teachers. For instance, Board meetings are held on Wednesdays during the day. So, parents, students, and teachers who wish to attend and speak, must take the day off.

Finally, while claiming to desire the very best educators for the city of Chicago, CPS undermines even the most remote possibility of that occurrence by paying teachers poorly compared to their metropolitan peers and offering weaker benefits packages. The situation is far worse for charter school teachers. CPS also fails, on a massive scale, to provide adequate infrastructure, basic educational support (even in the form of sufficient books and desks), and special education services to the students who need it. The list goes on.

I can't imagine what skills Obama sees in Mr. Duncan that would compensate for his failure to address these issues though that doesn't mean they are nonexistent. But I remain skeptical. Given Obama's pseudo-populist appeal and his stated claims to provide for the middle and lower classes, I don't understand the choice at all.

Mike wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I came to read these comments because I was looking for some substantive criticism of Duncan and his tenure in Chicago. After perusing all of them, I am unable to determine what people object to, apart from an automatic dislike of the guy in charge. Is he better than Paul Vallas? Ruth Love? Joe Hannon? What skills does Obama see in him that would compensate for the vague deficiencies the commenters here seem to believe exist (though they can't specify them articulately)

Mr. Ed wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Alexander -- RSS Feed not working

Alexander, when you get back, please check into RSS feed problem -- not loading.

cermak_rd wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Those hearings are just to allow everyone to have their say. They play no part in the actual decision making because they are not required to play a part in the decision making. The IL leg chose to give the Mayor pretty much supreme control over CPS. That would be the place to go to complain about the undemocratic nature of Chicago education. Arne did his job as the job is defined.

voted 4 BO now worried wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Arnie takes orders from above and seems complacent. After sitting in on many Board meetings I have observed that he is removed and unaffected by the parents, teachers, principals etc. who are pleading with the Board on behalf of their cases. We are so used to Chicago policy makers making decisions behind closed doors, we try to fight for our cause when everyone knows "It's a done deal". That is sad. Arnie took no chances and stood up for no one but Daley. He is not a leader and he should not be in this position. If we continue to let our education systems be controlled by politics we are never going to be in the forefront. I am sure there are more qualified people in other states who are ready to take on education for the nation. I agree with 1:04 looks like a B-ball position and not a wise choice.

Thanks Catalyst wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Cons

I have no faith in Duncan after what happened with Skinner Elementary. Skinner is a 90% minority school, Classical (accepts kids citywide), top ISAT scores in the city and they were waiting for their new building which was SOLD to the neighborhood. Arnie is a SELL OUT! The aldermen need to satisfy the developers for this new school to be "neighborhood" so they go crawling to Daley and then Arnie gets his orders. It's pathetic especially when you think how they are disrupting the children, the parents and citywide folk from having a chance for a quality education.

Rufus Williams would have been a better choice.

By the way, always turned to Catalyst when I needed to research what was going on with other schools.

Also, in regards to charter schools-what kind of a choice does a kid have when they are stuck at a Transportation school or a Military school? I think that is very limiting.

Thanks Catalyst wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Cons

I have no faith in Duncan after what happened with Skinner Elementary. Skinner is a 90% minority school, Classical (accepts kids citywide), top ISAT scores in the city and they were waiting for their new building which was SOLD to the neighborhood. Arnie is a SELL OUT! The aldermen need to satisfy the developers for this new school to be "neighborhood" so they go crawling to Daley and then Arnie gets his orders. It's pathetic especially when you think how they are disrupting the children, the parents and citywide folk from having a chance for a quality education.

Rufus Williams would have been a better choice.

By the way, always turned to Catalyst when I needed to research what was going on with other schools.

Also, in regards to charter schools-what kind of a choice does a kid have when they are stuck at a Transportation school or a Military school? I think that is very limiting.

To: Mark wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Good point.Please be advised that European school systems focus on three groups :college candidates,undecided and trade oriented.
Please imagine how many of our students would stay in school having the opportunities to be carpenters,auto mechanics etc.

Marc Sims wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Arne Duncan’s buddy, the President-elect has hooked him hook up with a good, but very challenging job.

I attended the Chicago Public Schools starting at kindergarten and dropped out of the Chicago Public Schools in 1980. Now my children attended the Chicago Public Schools. Well, not really, they actually attend a charter school. In Chicago there is not enough “good schoolsâ€. Most of the public schools in Chicago are filled with “low income “students. These schools, like many urban schools in the USA, they have class problem.

A few years ago I run in to Arne Duncan just off Chicago’s Magnificent mile. I told him my children receive A’s and B’s because my wife, a college graduate can help them with their homework. I also mentioned to Mr. Duncan “we are in the hood but are not of the hoodâ€, we expect our children to receive A’s and B’s.

A year or so later I called Mr. Duncan via a radio show and suggested the Chicago Public School’s middle class education model doesn’t work for thousands of CPS students. A middle class education model presumes that students have educated parents that are helping their children prepare for college.

Arne Duncan seems like a very nice and very sincere man, so I hope he will find creative ways to break the cycle of preventable poverty. Many public schools in a city like Chicago should have a different curriculum for students who are not college bound. This new curriculum should also prepare students to become excellent parents.

Preparing students to become excellent parents one good way to improve public education in the USA.

Marc Sims
Chicago

voted 4 BO now worried wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Arnie takes orders from above and seems complacent. After sitting in on many Board meetings I have observed that he is removed and unaffected by the parents, teachers, principals etc. who are pleading with the Board on behalf of their cases. We are so used to Chicago policy makers making decisions behind closed doors, we try to fight for our cause when everyone knows "It's a done deal". That is sad. Arnie took no chances and stood up for no one but Daley. He is not a leader and he should not be in this position. If we continue to let our education systems be controlled by politics we are never going to be in the forefront. I am sure there are more qualified people in other states who are ready to take on education for the nation. I agree with 1:04 looks like a B-ball position and not a wise choice.

Marricat wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

The CEO has a lot to do with school closings, having hearings that parents and staff can't attend, not listening to parents and staff at Board meetings, and firing minority teachers. All of these things have lead to more segregation. The trends that you talk about are part of it but Arnie has made his contribution.

cermak_rd wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I don't know how an executive could cause CPS to be more segregated than it is. It seems that CPS is largely segregated because of residential patterns and choice of whether to attend private or CPS. Closing of schools was inevitable as the number of students declined year after year.

I actually don't know how Mr. Duncan will do if he's tapped. He has not been his own man in Chicago as he has had to acquiesce to the demands of his boss, Mayor Daley and to the economics of living within his budget (not the pot of school moneys, but what the Mayor will tolerate being spent and on what each year). The CEO in Chicago is not an elected person with any control over anything. The position is appointed by the mayor and serves at the mayor's discretion.

Marricat wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I think President Elect Obama will live to regret this decision too and I just hope Arnie doesn't do too much damage on a national level. I, too, believe that it is ironic that the first African American president has appointed someone who has taken steps to keep Chicago segregated, fired numerious African American teachers, hurt SPED, and worked to destroy public education. If he does this on a national level, we are headed for trouble. At least, Chicago is rid of him which is a positive thing.

1.04 wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Bo and Me

BO will live to regret he picked Duncan for the job.
Arnie will no longer have the protection of the scum bag
Cook county democratic machine to shield him.
But let us hope the new administration can now
concentrate on the job of finding another point guard
And two forwards to complete the cabinet

George N. Schmidt wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

"What am I missing?" Alexander, yesterday

You are missing lots, but here's to make it brief.

You are missing the fact that Duncan has been responsible for violating both major consent decrees (desegregation; disabilities). And he has seen to it that CPS spent millions of dollars on lawyers and consultants in trying to eliminate court oversight of its meager "desegregation" programs and its always inadequate special education programs.

Those are just two (among many) examples from "education." There are many more, but here is a big one:

Arne Duncan has been responsible for the firing of 2,000 African American teachers since he took over in 2001 and began closing "failing" (today, "underperforming" schools, to the cheers of corporate Chicago. Somehow, when Duncan finds "failing" schools and "failing" teachers, the are virtually always all-black. Once again, last year, the majority of the teachers in every school he reconstituted (Copernicus, Fulton, Howe, Morton, Harper High School, and Orr high schools (the three small schools remaining inside Orr) were black.

Those kinds of records makes Arne Duncan fit to run the segregated public schools of Mississippi or Alabama 60 years ago, but not to bring his talents to the nation as a whole. The fact that he was appointed by the nation's first African American President is equally disgraceful.

Secretary FUBAR wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Scams and Cons

Arne is the Sarah Palin of education. What is frightening to me is not how little [i]he[/i] knows, but how ignorant of the prerequisites for educational leadership those who choose these leaders are.

Arne has spent many years complaining about the constraints of NCLB; as horrific as that inititative has been, I shudder to think what he will dream up to replace it.

p.s. - your last joke = lame. Especially since the subject of this thread has now institutionalized the bribing students for grades.

Ann Onymous wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Hurray! We finally get rid of Arnie! Pee Yew! Now we're stuck with him as Sec. of Education! Politics as usual, even among reformers! Before he goes, I hope he gets rid of the twit running Sports Administration, who apparently has turned a blind eye to coaches who beat players with paddles!

Danny wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Re: [i]He has fundamentally failed to serve students with disabilities and support special education teacher development. OSS is a laughingstock.[/i]

I'm having trouble deciding. Is this a "con" or a "pro"?

To:Anymouse wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I hope somebody who is a holder of the Illinois Type 75 certificate with an experience as an educator.

Anymouse wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

So who's going to replace Arne? That's what I want to know!

MB wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

You list weaknesses as: Failed to win substantial concessions from the Chicago Teachers Union in the last contract. â–ª Failed to expand the highly restrictive charter school cap for Chicago (30) .

Why are these weaknesses? Certainly not to teachers. Maybe Duncan isn't as anti-union or pro-charter as is assumed by all the nay-sayers on this board?

And I would disagree with the idea of not getting concessions. He has won plenty of sway over the union, and the best kind, in which the Union, as represented by Stewart, never raises a stink about anything CPS does so long as no one sticks a finger in her fat pudding pie. Compared to most cities our union might as well not even exist!

to ? wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Pittman was head of high schools before Gilligan. Oh how quickly we forget. I'm afraid "meathead" would have been an appropriate choice of adjective for that guy.

arne legacy wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Gilligan's first job was to fire four tenured teachers.

? wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

David G. Gilligan, Chief High School Officer

I have a pro wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

C'mon people,

He had the foresight to hire Pittman as head of high schools. With this skill at picking talent, why wouldn't he be a great choice as Sec. of Ed.

What about Barbara? wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Notice nothing is said about her achievements--how many years she has survived--what she has accomplished. Even BO is done in by the white man thing. Shame...

write your Congressmen wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

And tell your friends and relatives out of state to to the same. Tell them not to approve Arne Duncan for Secretary of Education. If Congress really this stupidthere is no hope for anything.
Don't they see what a corrupt and unqulified appointment this is?
Union members, use that PAC money and get those letters out.

ANOTHER BONE-HEADED MISTAKE wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

This appointment stinks of pay to play. JJ Jr., a Daley rival, not on the Obama short list for the Senate seat. Arne Duncan, a blinded Daley supporter, is the Obama pick for Sec. Ed. Pay to play baby—loud and clear. Now that BO is elected, people will not be as forgiving for the corruption Arne brings and the patronage he comes from. You only get 1 bone-headed mistake Mr. President-elect. And you already used it.

Activist10 wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

He has fundamentally failed to serve students with disabilities and support special education teacher development. OSS is a laughingstock. You'll get your IEP changed only if you can afford a damn good special ed lawyer.

to joe wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

agreed--Bad weed goin' around. This was NOT a cool move from our president elect.
There were so many--outside of Il, who were so well qualified for this position.
It is pay to play baby and it is who you play B-ball with.
Oh, and boycott the Bulls.

wait wait wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

Why wasn't Arne considered to take Obama's place as Senator?

Why? He is not qualified. No one would even dream of considering him.
So now he is secretary of education.
Tragedy and shame

Joe wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

What the hell...

..is Obama smokin'?

My faith in Barrack is in question and is tarnishing.

Oh man.

sorry for the typos wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

I am a teacher who cannot afford a new keyboard.

Has heart for the children, but wrote 5 years 44 weeks ago

Duncan Pros and Cons

is untruthful and still unqulified.
Just thisk of all th eprofessional development teachers and principals are mandated to take. He hasn't taken 1 education course...

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