Thursday, September 22, 2011

Federal education policy: A Shakespearean tragedy

The players:

Yorick: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
Horatio: Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Hamlet: President Obama

The plot: After overwhelming bipartisan support for education reform and an honest but failed attempt at tackling a problem, partisan hacks run for the hills and blame a former President for his education policy. Background reading here.


Alas, poor NCLB! I knew him, Arnie Duncan; a policy
of infinite bipartisan support, of most excellent intentions: it hath
borne us on its back a thousand times, and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is.
Here hung those standards of which I have praised I know
not how oft. Where be your requirements now? Your
purpose? Your promise of school choice? Your flashes of expectations,
that were wont to set the teacher's unions on a roar? Not one,
now, to praise your own objectives. Quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my Cabinet's chambers, free from Congressional oversight,
and have them paint an inch thick, to this favor they must
come; make them laugh at that. Prithee, Arne Duncan, tell
me one thing.

Arne Duncan:
What's that, my lord.

Dost though think my plans to close Gitmo looked o' this fashion, i'
the earth?

Arne Duncan:
E'en so.

And smelt so? pah!

Arne Duncan:
E'en so, my lord.

To what base uses we may return, Arne Duncan. There
may still be jobs for us in Chicago when we are done.

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