Sections:

Article

MEDIA WATCH: New series on Arne Duncan, the Chicago guy who cost Barack Obama and the Democrats the 2012 election

There used to be a saying at Substance: "That's like giving a monkey a hand grenade." We don't know what murky 20th Century war the notion was born in, but it's got to be updated for the USA in the 21st Century. Now in education the words should be, "That's like giving Arne Duncan a test he can use..." No matter how dumb the usage, Duncan and his cronies at the U.S. Department of Education will try and use it to prove that urban teachers have "failed" and that only more tests and charter schools will make "success" possible. Forget about poverty. Forget about the gangs that infest half the geography of cities like Chicago (unless they invade the Gold Coast or threaten the beaches of the affluent North Side with "flash gangs"). Forget about all the history and all the legitimate historical research that shows the intractable evidence that the vicious class society in the USA has created a class of children who are stuck in poverty and for whom mere schooling improvements won't do the whole jobs.

Although the Gaussian curve has many mathematical properties, as a construct designed to keep any ruling class or privileged elite in power, it's really as simple as the version shared from the Internet above. Once the population is distributed according to wealth, the same characteristics as the curve above appear when psychometrically designed so-called "standardized" tests are used to prove "winners" and "losers" among schools, teachers — or children. There really is no difference from the theological mumbo jumbo that argued for "Divine Right of Kings" to rule over the rest of us 400 years ago, and the "divine right of wealth" to rule over us today. But in order for the curve to work as a tool of social and political rule (and oppression), it must have credibility. That's where Barack Obama and his appointees at the U.S. Department of Education come in. They simply repeat the simplistic interpretation of the above reality and blame the victims, whether they be the heroic teachers who have been teaching the children of the poor in America's schools or the families of the children. But never the system that created the billionaires who put Barack Obama in the White House and Arne Duncan in the Secretary of Education job. And especially forget about the heroism of the teachers — many of them African American or other minorities — who have long served those Third World children in our supposedly First World nation. The teachers have to be blamed, in part for their very heroism. After all, the system wasn't able to work us to death, and now we've begun fighting back against the resign of lies that has been deployed against us.

Which brings us to the graphic that stands at the top of this article, two recent historical facts, and three future one.

The graphic shows the way in which virtually all so-called "standardized" tests are established. The data on the "behavior" of the test items — as an entity — have to "behave" so that the final result spread neatly along the classic "bell shaped curve." If the kids begin "passing" any particular psychometricly designed test (so that the curve lurches to the right, the "Winners" side), the tests are "renormed" until we get back to that curve again, Arne Duncan and his media handlers don't really understand this process (although Duncan's math and research people do, so it's generally hushed up), and all they need is to keep repeating nasty sound bites as if a chant like "All children can learn" or a lie like "But look at KIPP" can keep most American bamboozled forever.

But how does this relate to past and future.

The past of all this is now nearly 30 years old. We can trace it going back to two seminal 1980s Big Lie piece of propaganda — "A Nation at Risk" by the Reagan administration and "Chicago's Schools: America's Worst" by William Bennett and the Chicago Tribune. Once those lies were set as talking points in the public mind, a lot of the future was beginning to go into place, courtesy of the same people who brought us all the messes (from the "Savings and Loan crisis" to the present Depression) of the past 35 years. The more recent past comes in the defeat of so many Democrats in the 2010 November elections. It wasn't the strength of the "Tea Party" fantasies that cost the Democrats those seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, but Arne Duncan and Barack Obama.

What?!

In 2008, America's teachers became the most solid group of credible middle class supporters of the Obama presidential candidacy. The Audacity of Hope showed by the teachers was amazing (especially since Obama had telegraphed his every nasty punch in his book by the same name). By the time of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, union teachers constituted the biggest group of delegates at the convention. (Chicago's Marilyn Stewart was just one of those throngs; the largest group were NEA members, not AFT members). And the teacher put both their money where their mouths were and their bodies on the line. Teachers could be found working in virtually every precinct in the USA for Obama, in many cases, in the face of some stiff odds. Joined with the AFL-CIO (under the powerful leadership of Richard Trumka), union people, especially teachers, turned every problem Obama faced into its opposite. And Obama was elected, hope was in tears in Chicago's Grant Park the night the votes came in, and within 48 hours Obama was preparing not only to betray and scapegoat the teachers, but to destroy urban schools, wipe out large number of urban public school teachers (most — not all — of them African Americans) and push a privatization agenda unthinkable in the history of the USA from the White House and the U.S. Department of Education.

And by 2010, the majority of teachers had learned from their mistake.

And sat home in most places while Democrats tried fruitlessly to create a movement they had themselves destroyed by betraying the public school teachers and the union rank-and-file who had elected them. The defeats of the Democrats in so many state and national elections in November 2010 was the result of people learning that they had been betrayed and doing what they could do: sitting it out. Barack Obama's "side" lost the November 2010 elections because Arne Duncan (foremost among the Obama team) screwed the nation's public schools and the nation's public school teachers and teacher unions.

Race To The Top is still promoting every attack on teachers, public schools, and teachers unions.

The President himself tried to give credence to the propaganda attack on public schools and teacher unions, "Waiting for Superman" (which ranks along with "Birth of a Nation" and "Gone with the Wind" among the avatars of ruling class racist propaganda already).

And now Obama has set up his reelection campaign in the city that gave bright to every obnoxious claim and every lie that is now "Race To The Top."

Underlying the entire thing, though, it the Big Lie that comes within the data that Arne Duncan doesn't understand but knows how to try and utilize.

Although the Gaussian curve has many mathematical properties, as a construct designed to keep any ruling class or privileged elite in power, it's really as simple as the version shared from the Internet above. Once the population is distributed according to wealth, the same characteristics as the curve above appear when psychometrically designed so-called "standardized" tests are used to prove "winners" and "losers" among schools, teachers — or children. There really is no difference from the theological mumbo jumbo that argued for "Divine Right of Kings" to rule over the rest of us 400 years ago, and the "divine right of wealth" to rule over us today. But in order for the curve to work as a tool of social and political rule (and oppression), it must have credibility. That's where Barack Obama and his appointees at the U.S. Department of Education come in. They simply repeat the simplistic interpretation of the above reality and blame the victims, whether they be the heroic teachers who have been teaching the children of the poor in America's schools or the families of the children. But never the system that created the billionaires who put Barack Obama in the White House and Arne Duncan in the Secretary of Education job.



Comments:

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at substancenews.net. We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 3 =