Did Arne Duncan help write the NEA denunciation of Arne Duncan?

Arne Duncan looks for his ass.
One of my old Arne Duncan cartoons.

In an August, 2015 Politico article by Michael Grunwald called The Duncan Wars, Grunwald writes:

“Dennis Van Roekel, who led the NEA in Obama’s first term, used to meet Duncan for breakfast every month, and says they actually agreed on almost every issue—except testing.

“I constantly told him testing was a disaster,” Van Roekel said. “I warned him if he didn’t bring sanity to the testing craze, everything he was doing would collapse under its own weight. I wish he had listened to me about that.”

At the NEA’s convention in 2011, the union formally declared that it was “appalled” with Duncan’s work. But at the same convention, the NEA endorsed the president’s reelection, as if the education secretary whose family hung out with the Obamas at Camp David was some kind of rogue operative. I heard from several sources that Duncan actually helped negotiate the language of his own condemnation; he’s no politician, but you can’t run the Chicago schools without some sense of politics. “Arne understood the political realities,” a former aide said. “The union needed a target for its anger, and he was happy to take a bullet for the president.” Back then, resentment was starting to build over excessive “high-stakes” testing, and horror stories were starting to circulate about math tests being used to judge art teachers, but the dissension had not yet erupted into a movement.

It was New Business Item C and known as Thirteen Things We Hate About Arne Duncan.

I was a delegate in 2011 and recall being surprised that this was an NBI C since the letter C indicated it came from the leadership and not from delegates on the floor or from a state caucus/delegation.

The 2017 NEA RA is now wrapping up after passing a major policy statement on charter schools. It is the first policy statement on charter schools since 2001. It came from leadership.

I read that article by Grunwald in 2015 and totally missed the stuff about Duncan helping write his own denunciation.



3 Replies to “Did Arne Duncan help write the NEA denunciation of Arne Duncan?”

  1. If you had to create a comparison about Arne Duncan and where he stood as a member of Obama’s team, I think it might be safe to say he was the Will Perdue of that team. Sorry Will!

  2. Read the Chicago Magazine (Nov. 2016) COVER (!) article, “Can Arne Duncan Save Chicago?” online (because you really must read the comments, as well, although the last 2 must be from his friends or relatives):
    This is really the puff piece to end all puff pieces.
    Also–word is that he wants to run for mayor at some point.
    Vallas at CSU, Duncan…still here.
    Haven’t these people wreaked enough havoc for children, parents, teachers & the education community…all over the country?

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