Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today's Biggest Loser

America's School Children

This week, president elect Obama has nominated an old Chicago basketball buddy to head the nation's education system. Arne Duncan is the 44 year old chief of Chicago's public school system. His bio is impressive enough: magna cum laude from Harvard with a degree in Sociology. This may help explain why he is pushing so hard for a gay only high school in the city and to pay students for good grades. The rub is that neither Obama nor Duncan support public schools. Obama's daughters attend the University of Chicago Laboratory School, which Duncan also attended. The bigger rub is that even Chicago teachers do not support public schools. 38% of public school teachers in Chicago send their kids to private schools. That figure is very telling. Studies like the 2004 Thomas Fordham Institute report find big city public school teachers to be more likely than the general population they serve to have their own children in private schools. So what does Mr. Duncan offer the education system in America. More money spent, more specialized schools, no vouchers and no real improvement. Congratulations all of this, you are the biggest loser.