Friday, April 22, 2016

Duncan Finds a New Platform

Well, you knew it was going to happen. Somewhere, some thinky tank was going to bid on the right to hang Arne Duncan's shingle on their porch and give him the chance to continue his misguided, ill-informed gumflappery. Yes, the Emerson Collective has already hired him to fill a seat, but who would let him keep talking?

The winner? Ha! Trick question-- there are no winners in this transaction. But the thinky tank that will be providing a megaphone for the former Secretary of Education is the Brookings Institute.

The Duncanator will serve as a nonresident senior fellow in the Governance Studies program's Brown Center on Education Policy.

It is, on reflection, a match made in heaven. Brookings, a right-tilted thinky tank that leans heavily on the wisdom of economists, has long been a reliable purveyor of education policy nonsense. They done "research" that poor kids really do suck. They have won my award for "Most Clueless Commentary on Common Core" as well as mis-predicting its future. They have cobbled together weak sauce arguments for annual Big Standardized Tests. And they have scolded the poor for continuing to fornicate.

In short, they have been consistently wrong when it comes to issues of education policy, which makes Arne Duncan a perfect fit.

Duncan will blog (no word on whether or not Brookings is providing him with an intern) and "participate in public events on relevant issues." His first gig? A forum on charter schools. Great.

"The Brown Center is proud to welcome Arne Duncan, who has demonstrated passionate leadership on education and youth development issues throughout his life and career,” said Darrell West, Vice President of Governance Studies at Brookings.  “The research and activities of the Brown Center will benefit greatly from his decades of experience shaping and implementing education policy, not just at the federal but at the state and local levels as well. His perspective will help the Brown Center generate fresh ideas and new approaches to the challenges facing American schools and communities.”

If the Brown Center is looking for someone to talk about policies that failed, or the insider mechanics of pissing off Congress so badly that they commit the unprecedented act of rolling back the powers of your department, then Duncan is the man. Big win. Heckuva job, Brookings.

So this is good news for Duncan, who gets to cash in some more on his years of promoting failed policies. But it's a lose for Brookings, which as usual is kind of oblivious and doesn't seem to know that Duncan has few fans on the left or the right (AEI's Frederic Hess tweeted "Swell...another platform for him to offer up self-righteous nastiness. I wonder whose motives he'll question first."). I suppose it's a win for snarky bloggers, who will now have more material to mine on slow days. But it's a lose for everyone who has to continue to be exposed to Duncan's misguided and ill-informed thoughts about education.


  1. That's it. I want a Thinky tank to dump do dos in and scrub all the dumb out-with bleach. Perhaps it should be called, The Turd Tub. -A Snarkilator

  2. This man is sexist and racist-this "White suburban mom" is still reeling from the damage he has done to our children by Common Core" and high stakes testing. He is pitiful.