What Arne Duncan doesn’t understand

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When President Obama is criticized, it’s usually about foreign policy, healthcare or the economy. Rarely is he scrutinized for naming Arne Duncan as the U.S. secretary of education, which is arguably his biggest mistake.

What you should know about Duncan is that he stands for everything that is bad for education — outrageous teacher accountability programs, public school vouchers and high stakes testing. Of course, it’s hard to blame Duncan who is a politician — not an educator.

What Duncan doesn’t understand is students and what they need to learn.

Perhaps he should watch this video, produced by a student.


Duncan could learn a lot from Nikhil Goyal, who knows far more about teaching and learning than the secretary of education does.

Of course, why should Duncan understand what works in the classroom? He’s never been a classroom teacher.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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