I had an interesting email land in my inbox yesterday.  Ashley Thompson, who works for Spark PR, pointed me towards a question and answer session with Arne Duncan that was held yesterday and hosted by MSN and Redu, a website that sells itself as a mission to “rethink, reform and rebuild education.”

It was the end of a marking period for me yesterday, so I was swamped with finishing grades and hosting honor assemblies, so I wasn’t able to participate live.  As a guy who simply can’t stand Arne Duncan or the federal government’s role in education policy, however, I figured I’d give it a look.

Here it is:

Whenever I watch something like this, I actually cringe because I don’t think the federal government should play any role in education at the state level.

The way I see it, we shouldn’t give two rips about what Arne and his buddies think.  After all, even with Race to the Top—a huge infusion of taxpayer dollars that we don’t currently have to spend—-the federal government still only contributes a SMALL fraction of any state’s education budget.

What makes it even more difficult for me is that I truly believe that the federal government is using the current financial crisis to grab even more control over what we do in our districts.

Doesn’t that make anyone else feel just a little bit dirty?

I mean, think about it:  states are literally giving up their Constitutional right over educational decisions in an effort to pay the bills.  And guys like Arne know that they can take advantage of this crisis to force states to give up that control.

My biggest beef, though, is that the federal government has shown NO ability to make meaningful reforms in education.  NOTHING that ANY Secretary of Education has pushed for in the past decade has been responsible or successful policy—and NOTHING that Arne Duncan believes in will change our schools for the better.

So we keep giving away our rights in return for cash and then we end up in a bigger pickle than we were in to begin with.


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