Thursday, August 18, 2011

Duncan to Hold #AskArne Twitter Town Hall

The Department of Education announced today that Secretary Arne Duncan will participate in the first-ever #AskArne Twitter Town Hall on August 24, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Veteran education journalist John Merrow will moderate the town hall that will also be broadcast live on ED’s ustream channel.

Beginning today, Twitter users can submit questions to the Secretary using the hashtag #AskArne.

The Department of Education uses several Twitter accounts to share information and converse with the education community and the American people. For general news and information about ED, follow @usedgov. To keep up-to-date with Secretary Duncan, follow @ArneDuncan. Justin Hamilton, ED’s Press Secretary, can can be found at @EDPressSec, and Massie Ritsch, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs and Outreach, shares information and converses with stakeholders, teachers and parents at @ED_Outreach.

Click here for a complete list of ED’s Twitter accounts.

Questions for Duncan have already started pouring in. Here are a couple of samples:

Mr. Duncan,

Your approach to education is no different from the many administrators who I have dealt with in my 18 years in the education profession. There is no disagreement with the end goal of the DOE, however the means to get there has not changed one iota since I entered the profession. Administrators have discussed numerous ways to improve student achievement, such as providing remedial classes during the school day to help students who are “falling through the cracks.” (in essence two math courses for students who are struggling in math, or a and English course and a reading literacy course for students who are not up to grade level However, despite all the talk of these reforms within the school, not a single one has lasted for more than two years and were eventually cut in favor of more AP courses. (which I do not have a problem with). But you can’t cut one to save another. There should be curriculum in place that meets the needs of “ALL” students and I’m just not seeing it. I would rather see an emphasis on helping schools to provide these types of courses (through funds supplied by the DOE/federal grants), then to reward schools who have already achieved significant gains. These are not the schools or the students that need the help. Your Race to the Top looks more like a Race To The Bottom, when only a few states are helped where others are left behind. This approach is no different then what I have seen in all my years of education.


Abundant, accessible evidence proves that America’s schools are not failing or failed. This nation and this administration should be combating the ongoing culture war that allows misinformation but more important, poverty, hunger, and homelessness to oppress our future and impede learning. Strip away impoverished students from the testing pool and discover that U. S. students run neck and neck with students from other parts of the world. The problem with U. S. schools is a nation without a will to nurture all citizens and a nation willing to be deaf and blind to the increasing numbers of children living in homes with incomes below the poverty line. This is also a racist nation with few to fight for those oppressed. Finally, this nation is also guilty of opportunism: employers who look for cheaper labor pools, wealthy individuals selling products that suit online learning, companies trolling for big pots of money to tap for investment. The DOE should lead the fight against the class and race war with teachers as the bull’s eye on the target. What, Mr. Duncan, will you stand for? Teachers or billionaires? The future or power plays? Public schools or insulated schools? Equal opportunities for excellence or unequal opportunities for the status quo?

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