professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Phrase your questions carefully

Any middle school teacher (and I suspect the same is true for elementary and secondary teachers as well) knows that you need to frame your questions carefully. Someone needs to let Arne Duncan know this truth before he poses another question online. This piece from the Washington Post ( is a prime example of asking the right question in the right way to the right audience (is that Making the Match for questions, I wonder?). Here is what Arne Duncan (or, more likely, someone in his department in charge of social media) posted to Twitter:

What if every district committed both to identifying what made their 5 best schools successful & providing those opps to all their students?

Teachers responded in droves with the hashtag "what if" and directed right back to @arneduncan himself. Here are some of the responses:

#Whatif teachers were respected rather than disparaged by this country's wealthy and elite

#Whatif we said it is OK for kids to paint instead of taking tests used to evaluate their teachers?

@arneduncan #WhatIf the DOE committed both to identifying what made their 5 worst reform initiatives failures & removing them from schools?

@arneduncan #WhatIf the parents of my students were paid a living wage which enabled them to provide their children with adequate nutrition?

And this is the tip of the iceberg. Of course, this response will not move Duncan one bit. He will chalk it up to bad teachers who hate all of the accountability he has brought to education. He will note that those arguing for an end to CCSS and its concomitant testing program are those who need to leave the profession. He will stick to his guns.

And that is a shame. I wish Duncan would take some of the lessons he has learned on the basketball court and apply them to his REAL job. If one offensive play is not working, try another tactic. If your defense is not having the desired result, try another. Substitute players. Make new coaching decisions (and the President could take that advice as well). Instead, Duncan blames the shoes, the follow, the basket, the ball: everything except his failure as a player to adapt to changing situations.

Since a one-size-fits-all approach seems to suit him on education matters, let me suggest that the NBA only offer one size uniform, one size shoes, etc. Let all teams play in the same jerseys. Let all teams have the same roster with the same salaries. I wonder how long it would be until the NBA went out on strike? Before journalists called for an end to the madness of the "the same"? Before the players refused to follow the new rules made by those who know nothing of the sport?
Tags: duncan, idiocy, stupity
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