Thursday, January 16, 2014

Duncan's Bashfest

WCT hopes that Arne Duncan avails himself of the Federal Employees Health Benefits program and seeks mental health services. While the rest of us are stuck negotiating prescription coverage, allowed procedures, and general well-being care, FEHB members "enjoy the widest selection of plans in the country." Certainly, whatever choice-y plan Duncan has, can help him recognize and understand his pattern of Employee Emotional Abuse (EEA). 

Duncan's January 13th speech reveals he suffers from a serious case of EEA. Symptoms include: "repetitive, targeted, and destructive communication by more powerful members toward less powerful members in the workplace." EEA is also known as: bashing others, blame-shifting, and finger-pointing. How else to explain his statement that, "...a significant portion of new teachers come from the bottom third of their college class, and most new teachers say their training didn't prepare them for the realities of the classroom." We can file this away as yet another example of teacher-bashing by the Secretary of Education. Thanks, Arn.

Nevermind that Duncan doesn't use any real data besides "significant" and "most" when he belittles and shames working teachers everywhere not only for the job they are doing now, but for the grades they earned in the past. Since Duncan keeps preaching 21st century solutions to teaching problems, you'd think he'd ditch the 18th century solutions of admonishments and shame for every conceivable ill. 

Does Duncan have a solution to combat the bottom-dwellers permeating the U.S. schools? Why, yes reader, he does:
  • High expectations!
  • Raising voices for excellence!
  • Shake things up! 
  • Challenge the status quo! 
  • Walk the walk!
  • Stop settling for less!
Embedded in these phrases are criticisms of everyone--parents, teachers, politicians--except: Duncan's office, those with corporate reform agendas, and Amanda Ripley

Platitudes don't equal solutions. So while a robust array of platitudes are on offer, the solutions are more than a little, ahem, lacking. 

Perhaps we will know Arne has sought help when he starts to accept some of the blame for the problems that he sees, and stops bashing those whom he serves.

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