Arne Duncan On Dishonesty And Disadvantages In America's Education System

Aug 13, 2018
Originally published on August 14, 2018 10:47 am

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been in education for a long time. He's worked at nearly every level of the system, as a tutor in a low-income neighborhood, as the superintendent of the Chicago school system, and then moving up to the federal level to serve under President Obama as the education secretary.

And he's known for his honesty. His new book, "How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success From One of the Nation's Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education," starts out with a chapter called "Lies, Lies Everywhere."

He expanded on that in an interview with The Atlantic.

So whether it's valuing education or truly valuing teachers or valuing the lives of our kids and giving them a good start to life with early-childhood education, everyone will say yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, but their actions don't follow, don't correspond, don't correlate. It's intellectually dishonest, and the stakes are too high. I worry about a caste system; I worry about people feeling like they can't get ahead.

I don't only blame politicians—I blame voters. We don't vote based on education at any level—local, state, Congress, president; we don't hold anyone accountable for results, voting based on whether a politician is going to help increase access to pre-K, is going to increase high-school graduation rates, and so on. Education should be the ultimate nonpartisan issue.

What did Duncan learn from his tenure as the nation's top educator? What does he think of the current status of our America's public schools?


Arne Duncan, Former Secretary of Education; author, "How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation's Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education;" @arneduncan

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