Friday, May 2, 2014

Another Plutocrat for USDOE

Alyson Klein at EdWeek reports that Robert Gordon has been chosen to serve as assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development at the US DOE.

Gordon's previous work credits include the Office of Management and Budget, where he seems to have been a man behind the scenes for the various Fiscal Cliff negotiations. More recently he's been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institute, and we know what great fans of public education those guys are.

It doesn't get any better. His pre-government work is with the Center for American Progress, which is a liberal-leaning thinky tank specializing in economics-related argle-blargle, originally headed up by John Podesta. In 2008, Time magazine credited them with being the outside group with major influence over the formation of the Obama administration.

In 2006, Gordon co-authored "Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job,” a paper which floated the idea of finding effective teachers by looking at student test scores, so perhaps this new job is in recognition of how awesomely THAT has worked out. Just over a month ago he wrote this article for the New Republic that explains how Head Start can be fixed (short answer-- more strictly focused performance outcomes). In short, Gordon has almost a decade of soaking in Reformy goodness under his belt.

Klein notes in passing that "ironically," the man Gordon will be replacing is Carmel Martin, who is now an executive vice-president at CAP. This is not so much irony as business-as-usual, or a reflection on the way that education has become like the military-industrial complex or the food industry-- folks pass back and forth through a revolving door that runs between the offices that write policy, the offices that pass policy, and the offices that make money from that policy.

I almost didn't bother to write this, because there's really nothing new to see here. But as this same thing happens over and over again and as the Obama administration tells us plainly, again and again, how much they support the attack on public education and as the DOE is repeatedly staffed by people with no connection to schools whatsoever-- well, it's monotonous, but we need to pay attention. We need to remember that it's not getting better, that other voices are not being heard, that promise are being kept-- but not the ones made to teachers and parents and students.

And-- sorry Democrat friends-- this goes in my file of "One More Damn Reason That The Federal Department of Education Really Ought To Go Away." Federal level bureaucracies will always be populated by federal level plutocrats, not actual educators. US DOE officials will always be from the federal government, and they will never be here to help us.

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