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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 11/ 2/2010

Is Duncan out of bounds?

By Valerie Strauss

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in Europe this week, visiting first London and then Paris, where he will visit UNESCO headquarters and deliver a speech on Thursday called “The Vision of Education Reform in the United States: Keeping the Eye on the Ball!”

Below is the poster designed to promote the Paris speech.

No. It's not a joke.

I have just one question: Who thought that showing Duncan playing basketball with President Obama was a good idea?



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By Valerie Strauss  | November 2, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan  | Tags:  arne duncan, education department, president obama, school reform, secretary arne duncan, secretary duncan, unesco  
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Next: What other countries are really doing in education


Looks like you mailed this one in, Val.

No analysis of Obama/Duncan policies, Race To The Top competition, lifting the cap on charters, linking student test scores to teacher evaluations, shuttering chronically under performing schools, etc., etc.?

This "article" is a very feeble attempt at keeping your progressive agenda up and running. You should have called one of your guest bloggers for a column. One could go so far as to call this entry - LAZY.

Posted by: phoss1 | November 2, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

I have no complaint with the poster. In the context of Duncan's competitive, punitive vision of reform, it's quite clever and makes sense. Plus it features that president that the Europeans all know and love, and basketball does have a bit of a following over there.

Of course, if Duncan intends to use basketball as an analogy for education, we're in for an oversimplistic, myopic view of education, but since we get that from Duncan already...

Posted by: joshofstl | November 2, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm still wondering what Duncan's qualifications are for Secretary of Education. He's never been a teacher or a principal. His "success" as CEO of Chicago's public schools is largely a myth. Test scores declined, neighborhood schools were closed and the governance style was militaristic.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | November 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

UrbanDweller hit the nail on the head. Duncan is an empty suit and is evidence of the same type of cronyism that made Bush so repugnant. Race to the Top is set up to perpetuate the system of "winners" and "losers" by making states compete for scarce funds. Cash-strapped states faced with endless federal unfunded mandates scramble to adopt the dubious curricular, assessment and strategies handed down from the bureaucrats. To Duncan, the enterprise of educating the citizenry is simply a pick-up game. The poster truly is worth a thousand words.

Posted by: buckbuck11 | November 2, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

UD is hung up on credentials. Remember that almost all who delivered the mess in public e ducation--the supts, admins, teachers--have ed. degrees and lots of experience. In this country, it is common for heads of agencies to have management and executive credentials, if not the industry knowledge concerned. Get over it. We don't necessarily want top execs to think like the people who contributed heavily to prior failures. (And please don't bother with the silly question: would you want a brain surgeon who did not have the training? No most Americans don't think they are anything like doctors. And note that doctors do take responsibility and are accountable for their work. Teachers used to take responsibility and they got a lot of respect. Now, quite a few (not all) teachers refuse to take any responsibility, and they wonder why they become blame magnets.)

Posted by: axolotl | November 2, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Well, I hope Arne Duncan thanked the artist that did the layout on the poster; it's pretty sharp. And it was smart to include the President because the picture says that Obama plays in the 'game' of Education.

Having said that, I just quietly groaned to myself, "This is it?!? This is the best image and/or analogy they could come up with to depict the importance of Education?"

I guess Europe can now see that we have evolved from Cowboys and Indians (when I grew up there, that's what they thought most Americans were)bypassed Bonnie & Clyde, and can aspire to chase basketballs, footballs and baseballs. Not too many women in there, are there? And it's ok for the adult men to have fun but not the children. Let's just obsess on goals and points.......collaboration? Maybe if the whole team were shown on the poster, that would be a thought.

A good picture really does say more than a thousand words. One needs to hope that the words represented are the ones you want the audience to cheer.

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | November 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Europeans will clap and smile for the camera, but they will see through Duncan.

Posted by: jlp19 | November 2, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Duncan will brag about how many (mostly African American and Hispanic) teachers he fired in Chicago?

Posted by: jlp19 | November 2, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Duncan will brag about how many (mostly African American and Hispanic) teachers he fired in Chicago?

Posted by: jlp19 | November 2, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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