I would be remiss if I didn't give fellow teacher and author, Jim Blockey, props for inspiring me to do this profile entry on Sec. Duncan. Like Mr. Blockey, I too feel Mr. Duncan is an incompetent education leader who was "hooked up" with the job due to his political connections with President Obama and other Chicago heavyweights and his inflated accomplishments as CEO of Chicago Public Schools. As a hard-core proponent of charter schools and other education reform tactics, Duncan is establishing a precedent for enforcing school accountability with an ignorant sense of reality; however, this is what should be expected from one who has NO teaching experience in a public K-12 classroom. In fact, unfortunately, the FIRST and ONLY U.S. Secretary of Education who had K-12 teaching experience was the late Terrel Bell under the first Reagan administration. Perhaps, this is a critical fact in understanding why American public schools are and have been for years now lagging from its international counterparts.
I believed Duncan first left a bad taste in my mouth was when he publicly supported and endorsed the detrimental use of the turnaround model implemented against Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. In addition, his most recent dosage of bad medicine is his current push for publication of school data on teacher effectiveness (based primarily on student test scores) after the LA Times' teacher database fiasco. Duncan is continuing to give credence to this type of premature reactions without considering the adverse long-term implications to the teachers and students. As an education leader, the best interests of students first and teachers second should be the driving force in decision making and policy implementation on education-related affairs, not your political cronies.
In closing, in one of his blog entries, Mr. Blockey eloquently described the primary function of teachers.
Teachers are like the Constitution... We give the opportunity to be successful; we do not guarantee the success thereof.Hopefully, during his tenure real soon, Mr. Duncan would understand and realize this.
By the way, perhaps the ONLY thing I like about Mr. Duncan is the fact his own children attend a public school in Arlington, VA.