Secretary of Education Arne “Common Core” Duncan cuts and runs.

I guess Secretary Duncan felt that he’d done enough damage to educational standards – and tossed around enough race-baiting comments* – to satisfy him, so he’ll be leaving in December. …What’s that? No, actually, my slams at Arne Duncan are likely going to pass unnoticed, in the wake of this: “President Obama has named Education Department official John King Jr. as acting secretary through the end of his term.” There will be no Senate confirmation hearing for a new Secretary of Education, if Barack Obama can possibly help it.

And Barack Obama might pull it off, if only because the election’s in thirteen months and there’s going to be a new President in fifteen.  Although by ‘pull it off’ I mean ‘won’t be personally hassled;’ Warm Body Acting Secretary King won’t enjoy similar consideration.  In fact… while I don’t agree with many of the arguments in this Slate article and I certainly don’t agree with the tone, author Sarah Carr is correct on one thing: the next real Secretary of Education is going to have to try to figure out how to straighten out the stinking, fermenting mess of distrust and arrogance that Arne Duncan (and Barack Obama!) made out of what once was a mildly promising bipartisan educational policy. Secretary Duncan should have stuck around and started the repair work.

But then: since when has any person associated with this administration acted like a functional adult?  Yeah, I’m kind of blanking on a name there, myself.  Guess it’s true what they say about how fish rot from the head down…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Believe it or not, once upon a time Arne Duncan was considered to be the competent guy in the Obama Cabinet.  That was before we realized that Common Core was the political equivalent of a chlorine trifluoride fire. …Well, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s remarkable how broad the spectrum is of people who hate that particular educational policy.

Note to the Department of Education: Mao Zedong murdered 65 million people.

This is the estimated number is from The Black Book of Communism: if some people consider that number suspect, there’s also Frank Dikötter’s estimate* of 45 million killed during the “Great Leap Forward.”  Even the New York Times thinks that 30 million died in that atrocity, while noting that the ChiComs admit to 16 million murdered by the state** during that time period.  In short: Mao Zedong was a ruthless dictator who killed on a scale equivalent to Adolf Hitler and  Josef Stalin.




Continue reading Note to the Department of Education: Mao Zedong murdered 65 million people.

SWAT team raids by… US Department of Education.

No.  Seriously.

[UPDATE: Folks, it looks like they just updated the story and changed the URL.  Here you go with the new one.]

Apparently, there was this woman who had skipped out on her student loans, so the feds sent a SWAT team to her house to deliver a search warrant.  That is to say, the SWAT team stormed the house, broke down the door, handcuffed her husband, and stuck around for six hours until it finally was successfully pointed out that not only was the woman not there; she had in point of fact skipped out on her family, too. [UPDATE: The government is now claiming that the Education/SWAT raid wasn’t due to student loan defaults; which doesn’t actually resolve any of the questions below.]

Now, you’re probably asking yourself the following questions:

  • Since when did the Department of Education get to do what sounds awfully like no-knock raids? Answer: I’m not sure.  Perhaps this question should be presented to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (Democrat), who is of course appointed by President Barack Obama (Democrat).
  • Since when does a search warrant for student loan defaults [UPDATE: or fraud, really] permit the same tactics that one would use to secure a crystal meth lab that has a sideline in illegal automatic weapons? Answer: there is no way that I can match the righteously outraged fury of on this one, and I will not even try.
  • Wasn’t there some kind of student loan relief program signed into law?  Answer: HAHAHA!  No.  The closest thing to that is that students in the future who paid their loans all along will get forgiven the balance five years early – which means, in twenty years instead of twenty-five.  Yup, I know that the President promised otherwise.  The President makes a lot of promises that he doesn’t keep.  He lies a lot, too*.
  • Should I be paying off my student loans, then?  Answer: YES.  Or else the SWAT teams may come for you.  And, presumably, shoot you if you freak out about it.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Hey, I didn’t vote for him.

Arne Duncan: it takes a hurricane to fix Democratic education policy.

(Via a number of people out there) I’m not upset because Education Secretary Arne Duncan said this about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans education policy:

Martin was quoted as saying: “What’s amazing is New Orleans was devastated because of Hurricane Katrina, but because everything was wiped out, in essence, you are building from ground zero to change the dynamics of education in that city.”

Duncan was quoted as replying: “It’s a fascinating one. I spent a lot of time in New Orleans, and this is a tough thing to say, but let me be really honest. I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster, and it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that ‘we have to do better.’ And the progress that they’ve made in four years since the hurricane is unbelievable. They have a chance to create a phenomenal school district. Long way to go, but that — that city was not serious about its education. Those children were being desperately underserved prior, and the amount of progress and the amount of reform we’ve seen in a short amount of time has been absolutely amazing.”

…I’m angry because it’s true: it took a catastrophe to focus enough attention on New Orleans to make the local Democratic party’s tradition of malignant neglect too politically risky. The Republicans weren’t the ones who wrecked New Orleans’ schools in the first place; and if you expect us to be cheerful about the fact we’re doing well at cleaning up the mess that the Democrats made, well, don’t.

Moe Lane

PS: Yes, I to have noticed that a lot of people like to suddenly decide that partisanship in this sort of thing is unfair – once they realize that they’re on the wrong side of it.  Odd, no?

PPS: I see that my colleague Erick Erickson has raised a similar point.  But he’s slightly nicer about it.