Education Secretary Arne Duncan, coming out early and tough against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said he feels “very, very badly for the children” in Texas who go to public schools under Perry’s administration.So obviously the Chicago public schools under Duncan's stewardship must have done a bang-up job, right?
It was entirely predictable that Duncan would blast Perry, who just entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination and who has made it something of a sport to attack the president.
Just the other day, I wrote that no U.S. governor has been at public odds with Obama’s education policies more than Perry, and that tensions would only escalate. It’s safe to say they have.
Even as other Republicans have found bipartisan ground with Obama on education reform, Perry has repeatedly criticized Duncan’s Education Department, accusing it of attempting a “federal takeover of public schools” with the Race to Top competition in which states vied for federal funds by promising to implement specific education reforms.
Perry opted out of Race to the Top last year in a very public way, blasting the administration.
Now, in an interview on Bloomberg Television, airing today and tomorrow, Duncan said that public schools in Texas have “really struggled” under Perry.
“Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college,” he said. “I feel very, very badly for the children there.”
“You have seen massive increases in class size,” Duncan said of the Texas public school system during Perry’s terms as governor since December 2000. “You’ve seen cutbacks in funding. It doesn’t serve the children well. It doesn’t serve the state well. It doesn’t serve the state’s economy well. And ultimately it hurts the country.”
But what about the fact, I responded, that on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Texas' fourth- and eighth-graders substantially outperformed their peers in Chicago in reading and math?Naturally, Obama's stooge replies with a non-answer.
"I would have to look at all the details, but there are real challenges in Texas. And like every other state, they should be addressed openly and honestly as in Illinois, as in Chicago, and everywhere else."True, the national averages aren't great, but Texas is right there with the pack. So why is Duncan dissing the Lone Star State? Its minority students outperform minority students in Chicago, albeit by smaller margins. And with a high school graduation rate of about 73%, Texas may be slightly below the national average, but it's doing a lot better than Chicago, which only graduates about 56% of its students.So much for that lame line of attack.
As if those kids in Chicago are prepared for college.
Wednesday's legislative hearing came after the Tribune reported last month that the South Side public university intentionally allowed failing students to remain in school to boost its enrollment numbers.Who was it who represented Chicago's South Side?
Maloney, who requested state financial aid information after the Tribune report, said that during the 2008-09 academic year, 449 Chicago State students received state grant money even though, under university policy, an untold number of them should have been dismissed for poor academic performance.
Of those students, 106 had a grade-point average of 0.0 and still received aid from the taxpayer-funded Monetary Award Program, known as MAP.
Oh yeah, some guy named Obama.
I wonder whether those college kids could even find Martha's Vineyard on a map?