Exclusive! My Interview with Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sits down with the Assailed Teacher to answer the questions we all want to ask him.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sits down with the Assailed Teacher to answer the questions we’ve all wanted to ask him.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is facing some heat for his “white suburban moms” comment. As part of his public relations damage control, Secretary Duncan agreed to an interview with me. Below is a transcript of the interview in its entirety.

AT: Good evening Secretary Duncan and thank you for agreeing to this interview.

AD: Thank you for having me. I must say, you are much more overweight and slovenly than most other public school teachers. Perhaps you should come down to Washington so you can get in a few rounds of basketball with me and the President, fat boy.

AT: You know, it is comments like this that have gotten you into hot water lately. This past Friday you claimed that some critics of the Common Core Standards are “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — [are discovering] their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” Would you care to elaborate on this Mr. Secretary?

AD: Certainly. See, some mothers just cannot bear to hear any negative news about their perfect little cherubs. Women, by nature, are irrational creatures with an overly optimistic view of their offspring. It takes someone like me, a man from the masculine financial world who now walks the halls of power in Washington, to tell them the reality. I made sure to look at the scores of the children of every single white mother who opposed the Common Core. Guess what? They are all from the suburbs and all of their scores suck. What I said might have been a bit brash, but it was true.

AT: Whoa! Let’s unpack that statement a little bit. First, I must say that your comments just now came off as incredibly sexist.

AD: So? Sexism is part of life. We want to prepare children for the 21st century. Guess what? Sexism exists in the 21st century. Look at Michael Bloomberg. This is a man who treats the women who work for him as his personal harem. He has been the mayor of the largest city in America for the first 12 years of the 21st century. Children need to learn that sexists can do anything, including become Mayor of New York or Secretary of Education.

AT: But your comments were incredibly racist as well. I mean, are there no minority mothers in the suburbs? Are there no white mothers in the cities? Are there no minority mothers anywhere who oppose the Common Core?

AD: Don’t be so quick to play the race card, fatty. Remember, I was appointed by the nation’s first black president and play basketball with him every morning. Everyone knows that these Common Core Standards were created to help minority children. In fact, all bold education reformers today care about minority children, unlike you fat, lazy teachers. No, no minorities anywhere oppose the Common Core. They all love and support it. Don’t you understand? With these standards, minority children in urban areas will have to be taught the same thing in the same way as white children in the suburbs. This ensures that all children, no matter their race, get a quality education. We don’t have to worry about ameliorating urban poverty or proving adequate resources to urban schools. It is enough for us to mandate every child get taught the same thing and, voila, equal education for all. It is so simple, I don’t know why we didn’t do it earlier.

"Perhaps you should come down to Washington so you can get in a few rounds of basketball with me and the President, fat boy."

“Perhaps you should come down to Washington so you can get in a few rounds of basketball with me and the President, fat boy.”

AT: From my understanding, we intend to determine if children are meeting these standards by subjecting them to standardized tests every year. In fact, your “white suburban moms” comment shows that you measure intelligence and the success of schools by test scores. Don’t you think testing only measures a very narrow conception of “intelligence”? Are you not afraid that the obsession with testing will cause teachers, parents and children to do nothing more than test prep for the 13 years they attend public schools?

AD: As I have said many times before, we are competing with the rest of the world. We live in a globalized economy. China is going to be kicking our butts soon if we don’t do something. That means we have to be more like China. Chinese students take many exams. They have a government that treats their people like disposable cogs in a machine. The only civil rights they have are the ones the Communist Party allow to exist. Those who protest or speak out against the government are systematically jailed, beaten, monitored or worse. These are recipes for success. Testing and test prep will ensure that public school students obediently follow orders. Reading informational texts, as the Common Core mandates, will destroy critical thinking and imagination. Why do we need those things in the 21st century? We don’t. Those things only lead the next generation to want to “Occupy Wall Street” or something. We want to prevent more Occupy Wall Streets in the future so we don’t have to have a Tiananmen Square. Do you catch my drift? So, yes, I concede the point that testing and Common Core narrows imagination and civic engagement. So what? Those are not necessary skills for the 21st century. Shut up. Fill in the bubbles. Believe everything that is written and don’t let your mind run too far. That is what our country needs to be successful. We will out-China China.

AT: And yet, by those very same measures you just mentioned, those white suburban children you criticized as being not so smart outperform children in most other nations. Our wealthy and middle class children do quite well on standardized exams when compared with the rest of the world. So what exactly do you mean that these white suburban moms are mistaken about the intelligence of their own children?

AD: Public schools are failing and that is that. I don’t have time to disaggregate test scores according to socioeconomic status. I am a busy man. In a few minutes, I am getting a massage paid for by the good people at Pearson. This weekend, I am going on a vacation funded by the good people at inBloom. Let the eggheads worry about things like statistics and research. I don’t have the time to go into which schools are failing and which schools are not. They are all failing. Everyone knows that. People on the right and left have all bought into the idea that public schools are pathetic failure factories with lazy unionized teachers like yourself. They need to be shut down and given over to the private sector. Pearson and inBloom and Michelle Rhee and the free market know how to run schools better than the government. I know because they told me. They told me with their money. They are all wealthy. You don’t get wealthy by being stupid. People with money are smarter and better than everyone else. Therefore, they should run the school system. If they did, then they could teach everyone to be wealthy and all of our problems would go away… Don’t look at me like that. I know what that look means. You think that my cozy relationship with the privatizers is causing me to say all of this. My response to you is: why do you hate America? Don’t you know the idea that our schools are failing is the one thing we can agree on as a country? Democrats and Republicans have been fighting it out on every single issue from climate change to healthcare to taxation. Are you not happy that we have this one thing that unites us all? Why do you want to cause division by casting doubt on the narrative that public schools are failing? They are failing. End of story. This message was brought to you by Pearson… Sorry, I get $100 bucks from them every time I say that.

"Shut up. Fill in the bubbles. Believe everything that is written and don't let your mind run too far. That is what our country needs to be successful. We will out-China China."

“Shut up. Fill in the bubbles. Believe everything that is written and don’t let your mind run too far. That is what our country needs to be successful. We will out-China China.”

AT: So, you do not believe that cushioning the ill effects of poverty or providing schools in poor communities with more resources before you heap irrational standards upon them is a more humane way to reform education?

AD: What kind of socialist garbage is that? Poor schools, poor communities, poverty in general, those are all excuses. Those are excuses poor people use to blame the system for their own failures rather than themselves. Those are excuses fat teachers like yourself use to explain away your own laziness and failures. This negative attitude and finger-pointing is exactly what is wrong with America. Turn that frown upside down. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Believe in the American Dream.

AT: So, you are saying that the rise in poverty that has taken place over the past 40 years is due to millions of Americans all of the sudden becoming lazy and negative? How about the stagnant wages and disappearing middle class? What about the fact that the average American worker is more productive now than ever before, yet also poorer now than ever before?

AD: See, this is an example of Americans being spoiled. Look at all of those fast food and Walmart workers who are trying to unionize. They don’t know how good they have it. I have traveled the world. I have seen people in other continents who live in houses without roofs, cities without sewage and countries without governments. All of these poor people in America who are complaining have roofs over their heads. They have access to public transportation. They can go to a hospital for healthcare. They urinate and excrete into toilet bowls. The fact that many of them excrete at all demonstrates that they all have food in their bellies, especially you fat boy. How great is America that everyone has the ability to excrete waste? How great is it that we can do so into a porcelain bowl? You can walk into any Starbucks and use their toilets. For absolutely free of charge, you can sit like royalty on one of their toilets and read the newspaper while doing your business. Heck, 99% of the time, it has free toilet paper, soap and water so you can clean up. You want to complain about poverty in America? You don’t know how good we have it here. You don’t know how good all of us have it here.

"How great is America that everyone has the ability to excrete waste? How great is it that we can do so into a porcelain bowl? You can walk into any Starbucks and use their toilets."

“How great is America that everyone has the ability to excrete waste? How great is it that we can do so into a porcelain bowl? You can walk into any Starbucks and use their toilets.”

AT: Should that really be the standard? The fact that people here don’t live in mud brick huts and use a hole in the ground as a bathroom seems like an awfully low standard. I thought you were all about raising standards? Why does that only apply to students, parents and teachers in public schools? Why does it not apply to the American way of life in general?

AD: You don’t get it. We are competing with the rest of the world. There are countries out there where people live like absolute paupers their entire lives. Americans should expect to do the same. You don’t see people in those countries complaining about their living conditions? They get by with what they have. We must imitate their model. That is what Common Core will do. It will train Americans to keep the “what ifs” out of their minds. It will prevent them from asking pesky questions. Don’t you know that most of the nations of the world have horrendous poverty and inequality caused by a greedy ruling class who only want more for themselves? We have the same thing here, only that there are people who want to unionize and “Occupy Wall Street”. We will never be able to compete with the rest of the world if the people in this country don’t accept their miserable lot. That is what Common Core is about. That is what Race to the Top is about. America will only race to the top once Americans accept the fact that they will always be at the bottom.


12 responses to “Exclusive! My Interview with Arne Duncan

  1. Ha ha. Pretty funny. Unfortunately, too many people are buying Duncan’s brand of bullshit. That is, people except Duncan, Bloomberg, Emmanuael, and Gates, themselves. They send (or sent). their own children to Sidwell Friends, Spence, U Chicago Lab School, and Lakeside Academy. Each of these schools has an average class size under 16. SIXTEEN!!! Incidentally, none of said schools are adopting the common core. NOT ONE of them. Nor do any of them have high stakes tests. Yet it doesn’t seem to bother many Americans that these patriarchs are prescribing educational environments that they don’t find suitable for the only kids they really seem to care about; their own. Well some are.
    One thing to note, Duncan claims that students in the suburban schools are finding they don’t measure up internationally. That is actually NOT true (which, for you critical thinkers, is logically equivalent to being FALSE). Duncan is basing his claim on scores from the PARCC and SBC assessments, which are not given in any country besides the US, and therefore do not provide any meaningful data to support Duncan’s claim. The PISA assessment, however, IS given internationally. And the data from that test indicate that the children in suburban schools perform very, VERY well internationally.
    The wealthy schools that perform well have small class sizes, and use curricula (at least for math) that was developed at U if C Lab and Phillips Andover. So, it appears that the recipe for academic success is small class sizes, and good curricula. At least as measured by international tests.
    Clearly Duncan knows this, but, he would rather make public claims to the contrary, and support his claims with irrelevant metrics. Oh, but, if he makes controversial and sexist comments, too, then the debate becomes about that at the expense of the faulty premise of his claim. Brilliant.

  2. Did you ever notice how many people in this world wear every single aspect of their entire character, or lack thereof, all over that portion of their body that purports to be a Human face.

    Duncan is the Poster Child of that concept in every possible way on every possible level.

    Every possible human characteristic that any normal, thinking, sentient person could ever find objectionable, distasteful, revolting and totally annoying is to be found on that disgusting conglomeration of morphological features that comprise the face of this idiot, named Duncan the Dunce.

    If I were commissioned to invent a face that included every single idea that is completely anathema to what is needed and desired in a mature and wise adult, to educate and enlighten the young American child, I could not conceive of anything more appropriate than that depressing, offensive, smug mug owned by this man.

    In fact it has always been quite readily apparent to me that in general, with few exceptions, the types of people who enter the field of “education”, certainly in the USA, but likely throughout the world, with the clear goal of climbing the “professional ladder” in order that they may one day wield the power to lecture, pontificate over and brow beat others, that being their defenseless subordinates, on the subject of what is and is not desirable in a teacher, all such people seem to have that Duncan the Dunce “look” about them.

    And this applies to males as well as females. Just about every single so-called “supervisor” I ever encountered in my life in the so-called world of “education”, always seemed to possess that over-riding look of overwhelming stupidity and incompetence that one encounters in Duncan the Dunce’s smug mug.

    Could anyone possibly conceive of a human face that so precisely and so immediately and so completely, reflected every possible idea and thought, (or absence thereof), behind that vacuous, self satisfied, smirking Duncan the Dunce face. In fact a face that is the three dimensional equivalent, call it a morphological translation, of all that is wrong with Education today and has been wrong with Education for the past several decades.

    In general, I can accurately state that almost every person I ever met in my career who had started out as a classroom teacher, (and some even skip that step), and “rise” in the hierarchy of lapdogs, “yes” men and women, education stooges, and hatchet men and women for their “higher ups” and “betters”, all wear that same annoying “mask” that passes for a human face as exemplified and perpetually worn by Duncan the Dunce.

    Anyone who doubts the veracity of my words here need only to take a good long gander at the mugs of those who today, and for far too long a time, have controlled the world of so-called “education” in America.

    And this includes all the vultures, parasites, free loaders, “consultants” and Charter School “experts” who view the world of Education as the last great Frontier- the last once in a lifetime 1890’s Gold rush opportunity to get rich quick, then get even richer and then finally own their own franchise chain of Charter Schools, to rake in the money by the boat load.

    And for those who object to this State of Affairs, in which America’s children are simply seen as little Dollar $igns, who will grow up into big Dollar $igns, the system has invented that tried and truly effective method of ridding the Education world of quite a large percentage of those troublesome, pesky individuals who refuse to “go along to get along” or go forth meekly, like sheep to the slaughter.

    In New York State it is called the NY State 30-20a “process” whereby retaliation against those who attempt to speak up is swift and brutal.

    I should know as I was forced to “run that Gauntlet” not once but twice. My story is all embedded within the wide reaches of the Internet for all to peruse at their leisure.

    But though I am now well beyond the long reach of Duncan the Dunce and all his willing helpers and executioners, I yet still know countless thousands of people still trapped in that most macabre of all macabre worlds, Lorded over by Duncan the Dunce and the man with whom he plays basketball each and every morning. Two peas in a pod.

    May whatever gods there be, have pity on them all.

    David Pakter

    Still Standing

  3. I appreciate satire as much as anyone… possibly more so but lets at least clarify it as such because there are some who will take this seriously. There is enough raised ire about this topic with out you throwing gasoline on the fire.

  4. You will be glad to know someone on a FB group called Moms against Duncan posted a link and is outraged by your interview. Holy Shit.

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  8. Hahahahaha!

  9. Duncan’s whining about socialism when he’s a liberal, how pathetic! He needs Lithium, Seroquel, or Zyprexa…

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