Tag Archives: Arne Duncan

Education Department Releases Pamphlet Regarding Pregnant Students

by Brian Koenig

The U.S. Department of Education, under the guidance of ED Secretary Arne Duncan, has released a “Dear Colleague” letter with a pamphlet to support academic achievement for pregnant and parenting students under Title IX.

The document was submitted to school districts across the nation to offer information on “school retention” issues relating to problems with young parents and pregnant mothers. While the directive focuses primarily on secondary schools, it also applies to post-secondary institutions that receive federal financial assistance.

“We need to do more to help the hundreds of thousands of students who become mothers and fathers each year graduate from high school ready for college and successful careers,” Mr. Duncan affirmed. “We must support pregnant and parenting students so that they can build better lives for themselves and their children.”

The letter offers some interesting advice (or directives, rather), such as the illegality for “schools to exclude pregnant students (or students who have been pregnant) from participating in any part of an educational program, including extracurricular activities.”

So the Education Department is mandating that pregnant students cannot be excluded from anyextracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports (it’s in there). The “female student playing football” charade has already surfaced. The verdict on pregnant female students being permitted to play football is in: If she wants to be the high school’s next star quarterback, she’s made the team.

The safety concerns regarding this particular provision are just playing hooky for the day.

A dramatic scenario, maybe, but the point is clear: Political correctness trumps sound reasoning.

But, naturally, there’s more: “[A] student who is pregnant or given birth may not be required to submit medical certification for school participation unless such certification is also required for all other students with physical or emotional conditions requiring the attention of a physician.”

In effect, they must be treated the same as other students.

Sort of. But not really, because… Schools must offer special assistance to pregnant students, such as providing a “larger desk,” or allowing “frequent trips to the bathroom,” or  permitting “access to elevators” that may otherwise not be available to other students.

Antagonism is not lost on today’s education system.

And don’t forget this directive also applies to post-secondary institutions, such as colleges and other higher-education institutions. So if Joe Fratboy decides he needs a couple of months off school, he must not be “discriminated” against. Moreover, whether Joe Fratboy takes time off from his studies, his absences must not be penalized. That, it sure seems, is what the ED indicates, considering this applies to pregnant students and “young parents” of post-secondary institutions as well as secondary schools.

Sure, some of the pamphlet’s provisions are vague, and up for slight interpretation, but they surely chain the hands of school officials. The Department of Education is, as usual, discounting the “common sense” factor in achieving academic success. After all, as the pamphlet notes, “When a student returns to school, she must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before her medical leave began.”

Thanks, Mr.Duncan, for another brilliant maneuver.

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Filed under Federal Department of Education

Video: Chicago History Teacher Paul Horton on Common Core and Corporate Collusion

We are cross-posting this piece from Christel Swasey of Common Core: Education Without Representation. Common Core is a perfect example of crony-capitalism. Common Core is the final marriage between education companies and our government. 

Today, Alisa and I spoke with Chicago History teacher Paul Horton about Common Core and his group, Citizens Against Corporate Collusion.  A few highlights:

1.  What’s wrong with high stakes testing?

2.  How does Common Core turn teacher artisans into teacher widgets?

3.  Dept. of Ed Secretary Arne Duncan graduated from the high school where Horton teaches; what does Horton say about Sec. Duncan?

4.  Why does Pearson Company stand to face legal trouble?

5.  What does Horton see Bill Gates doing Common Core pushing for?

6.  Why are Democrats and Republicans increasingly seeing eye to eye on the need to stop common core?

Here’s the segment.


Filed under National Standards (Common Core)

Radicals and the Common Core State Standards

During the debates you may have heard President Obama hint out his federal school reforms. Just as everything else that comes out of his mouth, his belief that he has “reformed” anything is laughable on its face, and the reality of what is actually going on is dangerous at its Core. In all of the chaos of the last four years, the one thing patriotic Americans have paid little attention to is the education “reforms” pushed by our President and his non-educator Secretary of dis-Education Arne Duncan. The Republican response to many of their “reforms” have been similar to cows being herded for slaughter. Please take a few minutes to read and share these two articles by Mary Grabar the relate to what has been going on, she writes over at dissidentprof.com.

Terrorist Professor Bill Ayers and Obama’s Federal School Curriculum

Three years after the Department of Education announced a contest called Race-to-the-Top for $4.35 billion in stimulus funds, some parents, teachers, governors, and citizen and public policy groups are coming to an awful realization about the likely outcomes:

  • A national curriculum called Common Core
  • Regionalism, or the replacement of local governments by federally appointed bureaucrats
  • A leveling of all schools to one, low national standard, and a redistribution of education funds among school districts
  • An effective federal tracking of all students
  • The loss of the option of avoiding the national curriculum and tests through private school and home school

Working behind the scenes, implementing these policies and writing the standards are associates from President Obama’s community organizing days. In de facto control of the education component is Linda Darling-Hammond, a radical left-wing educator and close colleague of William “Bill” Ayers, the former leader of the communist terrorist Weather Underground who became a professor of education and friend of Obama’s.

‘ObamaCore’: Radical Education Bill Set to Take Effect After Election

Barack Obama, having little else in his arsenal, began his first debate by touting his signature education program“Race to the Top.” Joe Biden also cited “education” in his debate with Paul Ryan. Last Tuesday, Obama even turned a question about gun control into an opportunity to boast about his education policies. During the final debate, Obama repeatedly claimed that continued government investments in education are necessary to compete with China and to develop “clean energy technology.”

Race to the Top may have been the one domestic policy initiative that did not garner the universal ire of Republicans — indeed, it has many GOP supporters. They likely do not realize what a monster they have birthed by promising to follow federal Common Core curriculum guidelines (in math and English/language arts, so far) as part of the Race to the Top contest for $4.35 billion in stimulus funds.

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core)

Follow Obama’s/Duncan’s North Star to Educational Disaster via Common Core

This is a guest post from Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog:

From a reader via an on line educational group and reprinted with permission:
When I received the picture (above), I did not think it appropriate to send to our education network group.  I ended up deciding to send it anyway—it is appropriate.  No matter where you stand politically, there are some interesting quotes used in this picture.  The one that really got my attention is the Duncan quote, “The North Star guiding the alignment of our cradle-to-career education agenda is President Obama’s goal…”  
It brought Marc Tucker’s cradle to grave agenda to mind.  This quote piqued my interest enough to search for it in context.  I had seen the quote before but not where it came from.  My search yielded a scary find….

It is worth your time to read this Duncan September 2010 speech in its entirety.  It is scarier than just the cradle-to-career quote.  I will pull some quotes out and present them here.  When you read the speech for yourself, you may find other quotes that jump out at you.  These are the ones that jumped out at me.

 The four assurances got their name from the requirement that each governor in the 50 states had to provide an “assurance” they would pursue reforms in these four areas, in exchange for their share of $49 billion in a Recovery Act program designed to largely stem job loss among teachers and principals.
 In my eyes, this is an admission of bribery.
 The second assurance governors provided was in the area of data systems. The department has supported states and provided several hundred million dollars to build longitudinal data systems that measure student progress over time. More robust state data systems and a new generation of assessments can assist teachers and principals to improve their practices and tailor their instruction to students in ways that were largely unthinkable in the past.
Duncan clearly ties the longitudinal data systems to the assessments.  Since the assessments are directly related to the Cash Cow State Standards, it is not a leap of faith to make the connection between the CCSS and the data systems, it is a logical deduction.
Traditionally, the federal government in the United States has had a limited role in education policy.
He neglects to say why and does not acknowledge the constitution (which he and many others like to ignore).
 We have sought to fundamentally shift the federal role so that the Department is playing a greater role in supporting reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities across the nation.
This statement along with this one…
We are similarly overhauling the way the department provides technical assistance, so that it focuses on helping states build the capacity to implement programs successfully—instead of focusing on compliance monitoring, as we have done in the past. I said earlier that the United States now has an unprecedented opportunity to transform education in ways that will resonate for decades to come.
give indication that the department will now be directing states on how and what to implement. The Obama administration’s transformation of education will resonate for decades to come.  I only hope we can recover from the disharmonious resonation ironically brought about by the Recovery Act ($98 billion worth).
In the end, transforming education is not just about raising expectations. It has to be about creating greater capacity at all levels of the system to implement reform. It has to be about results. And that is one reason why Sir Michael Barber’s book, Instruction to Deliver, is so valuable.
Another network member has been putting Barber’s name in front of us.  He was brought to my attention more than a year ago.  His involvement and influence is becoming more evident.  Has he been directly involved as an architect of ed reform in this country or only having an indirect influence on it?
But we are committed to establishing a different relationship with states–one more focused on providing tailored support to improve program outcomes.
Interpretation:  We are committed to establishing a controlling relationship with the states—one more focused on providing tailored support for implementing policies and practices desired by the federal government without regard for evidence of effectiveness.  (as might be used the the federal government, desired is simply a nicer way of saying required…  much like voluntary means the same as required in federal speak).
I thought it was bad in 2004, when Sec. of Education Rod Paige called the teachers’ union a “terrorist organization” and in my eyes, by extension dubbed all teachers as terrorists.  While I was outraged at the time, I now see it as a mild insult relative to the action that goes beyond the words of Arne Duncan.  Duncan’s (and the Obama administration’s) actions are more than an insult to teachers…his actions will directly have a negative impact on the lives and livelihood of all students and the freedom and liberty of every American.
This Duncan quote caught my eye regarding the “transformation of education”:
Transformational reform especially takes time in the United States, which has more than 100,000 public schools, 49 million K-12 students, more than three million teachers, and 13,800 school districts–all of it largely administered and funded by local governments. Systemic change, in short, takes time.

The Constitution gives the power to the states for the administration and funding of education.  The Federal government does not have this power.  Would politicians remind Arne Duncan that the systemic change he and Obama crave is illegal?  Have all the politicians on the local, state and national levels forgotten the Federal government has no right to this power?

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core)

2012 NEA Convention: Membership Declines & Hyper-Partisanship

We wanted to cross-post this piece from the Association of American Educator’s (AAE) blog. For those that are not familiar with the AAE, they are a non-partisan, non-union alternative to the National Education Association. It is our opinion that the AAE is the organization for education professionals. The AAE offers dues that are $15 a month, no donations to any political cause, and liability insurance that surpasses that provided by the NEA.

While most Americans were enjoying a festive Independence Day last week, the National Education Association was holding their annual conference in Washington, D.C. Beaten down after another solid year of negative press, declining membership, and legislative and legal battles, the NEA convention took on a somber and partisan tone in 2012.

The convention was meant to be a rallying cry for union members as the NEA tried to create an atmosphere resembling a political party convention complete with theme music and intense cheering. Despite best efforts, the conference was noticeably lacking delegates and talk immediately turned to harsh budget realities.

NEA Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle predicted an even more challenging time in the years ahead calling budget numbers “devastating.” Projected losses total 287,000 active teachers and 21,000 additional personnel over the 2010-14 school years. The numbers amount to a $65 million budget reduction over that same time period, undoubtedly leading to staff reductions and declining political power.

In light of the upcoming election and the union-crippling legislation in states across the country, the speeches at the convention were meant to rally the members in attendance to stay strong despite the obvious setbacks. One of the more partisan speeches came from NEA Executive Director John Stocks who called NEA members “Social Justice Patriots,” according to the union-watchdog Education Intelligence Agency. Stocks said union members’ roles should be to fight “opponents of the DREAM Act and voter ID laws, CEOs who make too much, and big corporations.”

The NEA’s most high-profile guest was Vice President Joe Biden, who was sent in place of President Obama. Vice President Biden mainly stuck to the union staples, including expressing support for their collective bargaining plight and accusing Governor Mitt Romney of not supporting public education. After some grumblings from delegates about his no-show status, President Obama did call in to thunderous applause stating, “The folks on the other side, they want to take us back to the policies that didn’t work in the last decade, they want us to go back to a policy that just does big tax cuts for the wealthiest, [to] cut education spending, cut investments in all the things that help us grow.”

Following the President’s call, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel promised that the union would put its full support behind the president’s re-election: “We believe in you, Mr. President, and we’re behind you all the way.”

Despite the mass applause for candidates and partisan speakers, news broke that Republican and independent teachers among the delegation were expressing frustration with the hyper-partisan tone of the convention. In interviews with The Associated Press, dozens of teachers said they felt pressure from union leaders to support Obama’s re-election — and felt marginalized when they wouldn’t. Some teachers said they were so worried about retribution from their colleagues that they wouldn’t provide their names for publication in newspapers.

Delegate teacher Maureen van Wagner expressed her concern to the media. “What I don’t like is the harassment going on for people to be an ‘EFO’ — an educator for Obama.” Other teachers were offended that NEA leaders had been urging members to hold house parties to educate their friends about why President Obama deserves a second term.

In conjunction with their commitment to another Obama endorsement, the NEA approved a series of controversial measures. Among their many policy recommendations, NEA delegates considered resolutions opposing any policy of U.S. military action against Iran, an initiative to gather information on groups that “discourage NEA membership,” and a failed effort to recommend the ousting of reform-minded Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Information from the convention continues to surface following an eventful week. Be sure to read the AAE blog this week for the latest developments. As NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen stated, “Times have been bad before, but they’ve never been this bad.”

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Filed under NEA, Teacher Unions

Sunday Education Weekly Reader for 12.18.11

Thanks again to our friends over at Missouri Education Watchdog.

Welcome to the Sunday Education Weekly Reader for 12.18.11.  This week’s highlights:

  • Readers in Charlotte NC are smarter than the Charlotte Observer editorial board in educational matters
  • Do you agree with Arne Duncan’s job performance?
  • A follow up to our previous posting about ‘Occupy North Pole’ at the George School

Charlotte, NC readers take the editorial board to task and educate the writers on the scam operated on taxpayers and the push to spend even more federal money in Pre-K public education:

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if a parent works with their child from birth to 4 years old and teaches them their colors and some words, they will be better off starting kindergarten than if they had not.
The stupidity lies with government getting more involved in the lives of those entitled – just let the government handle it and not the parents.
I feel very sad for our country and our kids and grandkids, because the America as we knew it will be dead and gone very soon.
Welcome to Europe.


Here’s your chance to vote in an Arne Duncan poll.  (No fair peeking at the results before you vote!)  As the author of the poll states:

Don’t underestimate the power of my polls. The last one I did was on Michelle Rhee. A year later, DC Mayor Fenty was defeated and Rhee was gone. Okay. It took a year. I’m just sayin’


We reported about the Quaker sponsored George School’s Christmas play based on ‘Occupy North Pole’ and questioned what Christmas tradition the occupiers represented.  Perhaps the school is beginning a new tradition of supporting violent protests.  Check out the events the school had scheduled for December 3:  

10:00 a.m. Go with Tom and Becky Hutchins to see Occupy Philly and to the Friends Center to learn about the Quaker/Occupy connection

A reader alerted us to the tuition charged for this Occupy friendly school:

Boarding Students — $45,710
Includes tuition, room and board, and some materials/lab fees.

Day Students — $31,780
Includes tuition, all meals, and some materials/lab fees. 

These students certainly know what’s it’s like to be part of the 1%…right?


Educational quote for the week:

Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.

Oren Arnold

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Filed under Recommended Reads

Performance Review System That Works Without Merit Pay

We came across this article on a Maryland county school system (Montgomery County Schools) that has hit on a performance review system that seems to work. The teacher union is even on board, which is a miracle in and of itself.

Helping Teachers Help Themselves

This article also demonstrates how the Federal Department of Education hampers and harms districts that want to innovate. This school district sends 84% on to college, and accounts for 2.5% of the black population in America that passes the Advanced Placement test. The problem? They weren’t eligible for Race to the Top funds because the brilliant minds at the Federal Department of Education have determined that review systems must include a data component. This system doesn’t, and while we are somewhat friendly to the concept of merit pay, it’s not proven, yet. This system works, WITHOUT merit pay and they are being punished because they’re not doing it the way the Federal Department of Education says.

This should come as no shock to anyone that knows anything about Arne Duncan, our current Secretary of Education. Mr. Duncan never taught a day in his life, has no degree in education, was never an administrator, and has no degree in educational administration. It continues to amaze me how people listen to this clown. Maybe our next President can choose a PTA President for Secretary of Education.

It’s examples like these that demonstrate top-down educational policy from Washington, DC is the PROBLEM. We here at CTA believe that the Congress in Washington should end the Federal Department of Education, and at the very least we should gut it and severely limit it’s ability to dictate educational policy to the states.

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Filed under Education Reform, Federal Department of Education

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on Education Reform

Governor Daniels speaks on education reforms in his state. Many new and good ideas here. We think it important to point out two things. First, Mr. Daniels speaks positively of Arne Duncan. No self-respecting educator should listen to this man, he knows little about education and has no experience other than a short stint as head of the entire Chicago Public School System. Second, Governor Daniels seems to be OK with the Federal Department of Education. We here at CTA are not, and no constitution loving conservative should be.


Filed under Education Reform, Videos