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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Inside Arne: He’s ‘for the kids’

Duncan congratulates himself repeatedly on his devotion to “the kids,” writes Rick Hess in an Education Next review. He doesn’t explain how education reform went astray, losing bipartisan support, during his seven-year tenure.

“Duncan has opted to pen a breezy exercise in straw men and self-congratulation,” writes Hess. Starting with his days running Chicago Public Schools, Duncan portrays himself as being “for the kids.”

Those who disagree with his policies never have , honest, principled arguments, in his eyes. They are political sell-outs.

For example, Race to the Top — $4.35 billion in grants to get states to adopt reforms — was about “trying to get as many American kids as possible ready for college and careers,” Duncan writes. He “never acknowledges that skeptics might have shared goals but had good-faith doubts about Race to the Top or how he went about executing it,” writes Hess.

Hess concludes “In the end, Duncan’s biggest contribution here may be the unwitting window he offers into why Obama-era school reform disappointed and the left-right school-reform coalition unraveled.”

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