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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 07/27/2010

Duncan and education’s “quiet revolution”

By Valerie Strauss

Some things speak for themselves. That includes this blogpost on the Education Department’s website about a major speech Secretary Arne Duncan is giving today.

The post talks about a “quiet revolution” in education now sweeping the country, one in which the Obama administration has played only “a modest role.”

Oh, I almost forgot: During the speech, Duncan will name the second round finalists in the $4.3 billion Race to the Top competition, the administration’s quiet chief education initiative that has, quietly, staged a public competition for federal school reform funds.

If you have time, watch the speech at 12:30 EDT on the department’s website and let me know what you think.

Here's the post:

The Quiet Revolution
From journalists and educators to politicians and parents, there is a growing sense that a quiet revolution is underway in our homes and schools, classrooms and communities.

On Tuesday, July 27, Secretary Arne Duncan will talk about this quiet revolution in a major speech at the National Press Club at 12:30 pm ET.

This quiet revolution is driven by motivated parents who want better educational options for their children and is driven by educators and administrators who are challenging the inertia that has trapped generations of children in second-rate schools.

The Obama administration is playing a modest role in sparking this quiet revolution through Race to the Top and other reform initiatives that are giving states the incentive to raise standards, improve teacher effectiveness, build data systems, and turn around low-performing schools.

During the speech, Duncan will announce Race to the Top finalists.

Watch the speech live on the web at 12:30 pm ET.

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By Valerie Strauss  | July 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Race to the Top  | Tags:  duncan anounces race to the top finalists, duncan speech, quiet revolution and education, race to the top finalists, rttt finalists  
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Next: Duncan being too 'modest'

Comments

Maybe he'll give out food stamps.

Posted by: edlharris | July 27, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

He must be using the same PR machine Rhee is using.

Posted by: educationlover54 | July 27, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This sort of talk always sounds very good because no one wants to not "challenge inertia" in second-rate schools.

I do think it would be better for teachers and students if he would emphasize that teachers are the ones who will be implementing all his plans.

Instead he constantly puts down teachers, often the ones who have been working hard all along to try to change the inertia.

We will see what he says. If it continues to be negative, then I will think he is just trying to get federal money for charters. (In other words, taking government money meant for schools for profit making organizations)

Posted by: celestun100 | July 27, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

There is a "quiet revolution" taking place and here it is:

All over America, people who enthusiastically embraced Barack Obama, including me, are having strong doubts. Yesterday I got a call from a volunteer for Obama and was surprised when I said, "I just don't know if I can support him anymore because of his stance on education." Even more surprising was the volunteer's response. She said,

"I know what you mean because I'm a teacher too, but consider the alternative."

If anyone from the Obama administration is reading this, I hope they tell the president to read his own interview in Essence magazine (March, 2010) and try to institute research-based changes in education. Just one change, protecting the health and cognitive development of children under five, would be huge. We've known for years that a high-quality preschool makes a big difference so let's do it.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | July 27, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Since the revolution has been so quiet how come everyone knows it is the fault of teachers and the unions of teachers.

Forget the second rate schools and start addressing the worst level of public schools in this country, the Title 1 poverty public schools.

There will be no mention of the problems of these schools where there is mayhem in class rooms since disruptive students have been allowed to take over classes or the high rate of violence in these schools.

Turn these schools around and from the youngest age remove from these schools the students that should not be in a normal classroom.

Provide an environment where the majority of children have a chance of obtaining the benefits of education instead of an environment of chaos and violence.

Turn these public schools into a sanctuary from poverty instead of simply a reflection of the disadvantages of being poor.

No use in expecting this from an administration that ignores the glaring problems and wants to spend billions on testing and computer systems to evaluate the effective of teachers.

Apparently common sense is not enough to indicate that no teacher will be effective in a class room where mayhem is the norm.

Imagine how public education in the Title 1 poverty public schools would improve if instead of a fake "achievement gap" educators spoke of the mayhem and violence gap.

Create an environment where teachers can teach and children can learn.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 27, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I was unable to watch the speech live and was hoping to see it repeated. However, I did see that Secretary Duncan is having a town hall meeting on Thursday. You can write some questions and comments for him. No doubt they'll pick the ones that are pro Duncan, but. . . can at least try???

http://www.ed.gov/blog/2010/07/secretary-arne-duncan-to-participate-in-radio-town-hall-meeting-with-nations-teachers/

Also,
John Stewart will not have Diane Ravitch on. :(
But let's try to get her on the Rachel Maddow Show.
Rachel@msnbc.com
Send her an e-mail.

Posted by: tutucker | July 27, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Valerie, You colleague Nick Anderson left out something:
"It also appears increasingly unlikely that, despite pleas from Duncan and Obama, the Democratic-led Congress will provide a bailout for schools this summer to prevent teacher layoffs and program cuts amid local budget troubles."

Nick FORGOT to mention that the administration wanted to cut food stamps to fund Race To The Top.

Posted by: edlharris | July 27, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

This quiet revolution is driven by motivated parents who want better educational options for their children and is driven by educators and administrators who are challenging the inertia that has trapped generations of children in second-rate schools.
..................................
Yes parents in the neighborhoods of Title 1 poverty public schools do not want safe schools or class rooms where children can learn instead of mayhem.

They want billion dollars for standardized testing and computer systems to analyze test results.

Every night the parents that cares about the education of their children dream of the "Change We Can Believe In" of standardized testing and computer systems.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 27, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It would be helpful if Valerie Strauss and columnists provided articles on the glaring problems of the Title 1 poverty public schools in regard to violence and mayhem in the class rooms.

Most Americans view public education from their own experience. Their children went to public schools that were safe and where teachers in class rooms were allowed to teach and not spend significant amounts of time and effort in dealing with mayhem.

I believe that most Americans are fair minded no matter their political views regarding poverty programs and would agree that these public schools must be turned around and be safe with class rooms where teachers are allowed to teach.

Children in this nation should have at the least the basic standard of public schools that are safe and class rooms where teachers are allowed to teach.

This should be the basic standard for all public schools in the United States.

A great deal of public money has been spent and will be spent on Title 1 poverty public schools. These schools should meet the basic standards of a public school in the United States.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 27, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Valerie,

The more I think about it, the more I agree with this statement by bsallamack,

"It would be helpful if Valerie Strauss and columnists provided articles on the glaring problems of the Title 1 poverty public schools in regard to violence and mayhem in the class rooms."

Posted by: celestun100 | July 27, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

So, didn't I hear that DC and Maryland won? Where is the article?

Posted by: celestun100 | July 27, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Does any American take Race To The Top as anything other than a game show or a beauty pageant.

The finalists chosen today will travel to Washington during the week of Aug. 9...

"Just as in the first round, we're going to set a very high bar....

...intends to announce the winners of the competition in September.

The current administration with Race To The Top only show their contempt for the intelligence of Americans by turning the need of states for funds for public education into a public game show.

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/19-states-named-finalists-race-top

Posted by: bsallamack | July 27, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The Wisconsin State Journal reports of the Wisconsin proposal, "focused on early childhood development, addressing the achievement drop-off between middle and high schools, and developing good teachers and principals."

Was it not enough of a quick fix?

Posted by: celestun100 | July 27, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

19 States Named as Finalists for Race to the Top

Duncan Salutes State and Local Leaders for Leading "Quiet Revolution" for School Reform

July 27, 2010

To be found at this web address:
http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/19-states-named-finalists-race-top


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that 19 states are the finalists for more than $3 billion available in the second round of funding in the Race to the Top program.

"Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia submitted bold blueprints for reform that bear the signatures of many key players at the state and local level who drive change in our schools," Duncan said.

"Peer reviewers identified these 19 finalists as having the boldest plans, but every state that applied will benefit from this process of collaboratively creating a comprehensive education reform agenda," Duncan added. "Much of the federal dollars we distribute though other channels can support their plan to raise standards, improve teaching, use data more effectively to support student learning, and turn around underperforming schools."

Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia applied for the second round of Race to the Top. Including the 36 applications for the second round of Race to the Top, a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia applied for either the first or second rounds – or both.

The 19 finalists are: Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 27, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

So, didn't I hear that DC and Maryland won? Where is the article?

Posted by: celestun100
............................
No one won. All that has been done is to select the finalists.

DC and Maryland were on the list of finalists for the next stage of this game show.

How can anyone in this nation any longer consider that the President cares about public education?

He is a charlatan and we have gone from George W. Bush to a charlatan.

I hope that the Democrats after November start work on selecting the next Democratic candidate for President in 2012.

It is bad to have a President that has poor policies but it is even worse to have a President that is a complete charlatan.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Time now for the non finalists to silently drop the Common Core State Standards.

Accepting a new entire set of standards means revising all of the curriculum and all lesson plans of teachers to be in agreement with these new standards. Current textbooks also need to be reviewed. This requires an enormous amount of money,work and time.

Simply revising a single standard requires money, work and time.

In September the non winning states will also silently drop the Common Core State Standards.

The acceptance of the Common Core State Standards by states that have high standards was only an indication of the desperate need of states for public education funds, since these states are fully aware of the enormous amount of money, work and time that would be required to implement a new set of standards.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 27, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

...intends to announce the winners of the competition in September.

No recognition that the winning states that have had to let go of teachers because of lack of funds will not be able to use these funds to rehire teacher since schools starts early in September.

September has been selected since this will provide the administration with the most media coverage of their public education announcement as it is the start of new school year.

Imagine a program for desperate farmers to supply seed and supplying the seed after the time crops have to be planted.

Time for all Americans to recognize the real value of this pretended concern of this President for public education.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 27, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I fear for the damage to education in states that won Race to the Top.

Posted by: jlp19 | July 27, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

What can you expect from an unqualified US Secretary of Education with only a BA degree in Sociology? He is shooting from the hip and flying by the seat of his pants! Shame on Obama for appointing him and placing so many unqualified people (lawyers) in the US DOE.

Once again, our poorest most vulnerable children will be subjected to unproven practices. It is time to replace Arne Duncan with Linda Darling-Hammond.

Posted by: lacy41 | July 27, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse


"This quiet revolution is driven by motivated parents [ repeat ] who want better educational options for their children and is driven by educators and administrators who are challenging the inertia that has trapped generations of children in second-rate schools."

SO TRUE!

my apologies Strauss re my comment on your latest blog...I stopped the habit of consistenly reading your blog spot on WaPo editorial education board.

Posted by: PGCResident1 | July 27, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I have suggested, just this morning, on Rachel Maddow's Facebook account, that she invite Diane Ravitch to be interviewed. Let's hope that Rachel does so.

Posted by: StephenYork | July 28, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

This quiet revolution is driven by cash strapped state and local government officials who have no other choice than to pass goofy legislation in order to get funding from Washington. It is all about the money......(it would be good to follow the money....just saying....someone is going to benefit from this and it isn't the kids...)

Posted by: GreenGoat | July 31, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

If you listened, and/or look at the questions/comments posed to Duncan on the website for that "Radio Town Hall" meeting [http://www.ed.gov/blog/2010/07/secretary-arne-duncan-to-participate-in-radio-town-hall-meeting-with-nations-teachers/], you'll notice there are a lot of angry teachers begging for someone to listen to their many good ideas for improving schools, or at least explain to them how the administration's current proposals are supposed to help.

Can you imagine saying:
"The health care in this country is broken...
...so let's fire all the doctors!"
"And let's promote some innovation! Extra funds for the occasional miracle cure!"
"The rest of you, meanwhile, can just go ahead and die..."

Posted by: Ms_G_austex | August 1, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

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