Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Arne Duncan on the Colbert Report

Three Observations:

1.) I've never seen such softball questions from Colbert.  Alexander Russo reported today that the staff didn't know what to ask him, and it showed.

2.) Duncan said that he wanted schools to serve as "community centers" and that they're often "the centers of a neighborhood and the heart of the community."  I'm not sure how this is compatible with his desire to create more charter schools, most of which are not true neighborhood schools.  Does he want traditional public schools to serve as community centers only for those students not enrolled in charter schools?  Or perhaps he wants charter students to attend school elsewhere but attend events and participate in after-school activities at the nearby traditional public school?

3.) Duncan was also factually incorrect when he said that our school calendar is "based on the agrarian economy".  That's a common myth, but it's wrong -- summer break and agriculture don't go very well together.

Updated: I've added links to Arne Duncan's interview as well as "The W0rd" segment with fifth grader Andy Gelman on whether or not summer break should be shortened (couldn't get the clips to embed for some reason).  I also changed the wording above to reflect direct quotes instead of paraphrasing.

Arne Duncan Interview

The W0rd

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