Ask Why

Arne Duncan in today’s Town Hall Twitter Meeting said:

When you have a school with that big of a gain, then you either have a shining star that should be replicated or you have to deal with the tough reality that something bad is going on.

He was referring to schools that have been caught cheating on standardized assessments.

Standardized assessments whose results are still tied to federal money.

Standardized assessments that meet NCLB requirements and haven’t changed since he has been Secretary of Education.

He describes the schools as having a “morally bankrupt culture” and says:

Re: cheating on stand. tests, absolutely unacceptable. The most important thing we can do is tell children/families the truth. #AskArne

Rather than looking at what has caused the high-stakes testing atmosphere in our country, Duncan blames teachers and school culture for the cheating. There is no discussion about why these teachers would feel the need to cheat on these assessments or what was at stake if their test scores weren’t higher than last year’s.

It’s easy to point to what happened and say it was wrong, but it’s much harder to look at what happened and ask why, especially for Arne Duncan who as Paul Thomas tweets, is

NOT an educator thus has no authentic frame of ref 2 address authentic Qs – bureaucrat lens allows him 2 c only bureaucrat solutions

Duncan and I do agree on one thing.

All of us need to ask more of ourselves and each other. Be willing to behave in different ways.

I’m asking more of you, Secretary Duncan. Ask why.