Duncan Gains Feedback During California Visit

“You aren’t the future leaders, you’re leading today,” Secretary Duncan told a group of students last night at a community forum in Los Angeles that also included parents, teachers and community leaders.  The Secretary’s discussion at Fremont High School was just one of three stops he made in the LA area yesterday to discuss and get feedback on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Earlier in the day, Secretary Duncan spoke at a gathering of over 1,000 leaders from the business, civic, education, government and parent communities at the one-day Education Summit held by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.  Following his visit to the Education Summit, the Secretary stopped at Tincher Preparatory, a K-8 public school in Long Beach California, for a roundtable discussion with teachers, administrators, parents and students.  The Long Beach Press-Telegram summed up the roundtable discussion:

The secretary listened intently as administrators and teachers talked about the programs that make Tincher a success. The East Long Beach K-8 school, where more than 50 percent of the students are designated as disadvantaged, has been lauded for its gains in test scores and was named a “School to Watch” by the California Middle Grades Alliance in 2009.

Duncan said the LBUSD sets an example for other school districts in the country.

“I’ve studied your school district for a long time, and I think you have so much to be proud of,” he told a crowd gathered in the school library.

Today, the Secretary is stopping in San Diego for another roundtable discussion, as well as a visit to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to discuss education as a national security issue.


  1. Finland- Could be anywhere but that’s a good place to start. I’m old didn’t have much as a kid. Went to school for fun at first then started to figure out that this wasn’t a learning process but “my first job.” We all had one person to impress,the teacher, If we did, we did well if not we became outcasts and just a member of the class.
    Yes I agree with Pathfinder that Childred want to learn. They have one other thing they were born with, that is Interrest. yes some like art, music, science, math, whatever–It is “Interrest” for them first. Wanting to learn more about their interrest comes second. It is still a job and skill come from finding out “What it takes to be the best in what you are interrested in” what they find out,(sometimes to late) are that the basic classes are very improtant to any carreer. How to teach to an interrest is to explain how all the other classes relate to that interrest and how it helps you become successful.
    School prepares the student for his second job The fulfillment of his interrest.
    Ever start a real life job without any interrest in the work you’ll be doing – forever- first your a trainee or even higher but no where near a journeyman there are all kinds of working abilities around you and through repetion your skill is improved and learning comes from the workers around you. If all the workers were trainees how would you be able to improve. you would never learn from other sources.
    That is why a colledge degree is useless until he has a work experience.

    Now for reform – combine classes of 1st 2nd 3rd small groups 7/10 of each age to make a larger class of 21/30 students same with 4,5,6, then 7,8 as room and schools are able to permit.
    Now the real life job of school is a multi age multi skilled multi racial community taught by a community leader (supervisor/teacher) after 3 years of listening to 3 levels of teaching for 3 years the repetition of what they were taught and what was expected the next year will make learning easier and mentoring each other more successful than simply tring to impress the teacher.

    One Day Pathfinder might read this –It was ment for Arne Duncan – I’ll probably never return here to see if anyone ever read it but I fell better because Bill Said It.

  2. To : Arne Duncan
    Re: 22 Mar 2011 visit to Fremont HS
    Your administrations policies have resulted in leaving all our college bound students behind, because 25% of all their academic class time has been eliminated.
    You asked to hear from us about how to change NCLB.
    You told a story about South Korea.
    Now please consider the following excerpt:
    by Erik Peterson 7 March 2011
    What truly impacts a child’s ability to learn?

    And what is currently working?

    Certainly there are teachers that shouldn’t be teaching, and there are unions that are stuck in models of operating that no longer make sense, just as there are incompetent and self-serving elected officials that shouldn’t be in office, CEO’s who shouldn’t be running a business, parents who shouldn’t be parenting, and foundations that promote extreme self-interest under the guise of the public good.
    The problem is not poorly skilled teachers or obstructionist teacher unions. Poverty, violence, a culture of hopelessness and underachievement, lack of parental support – or no parents at all – the lack of health care, racism, deteriorating schools, and teachers and principals who have given up hope after having been asked to do the impossible are all far more likely to impact teaching and learning. Schools are being asked to mitigate a series of social ills that are far beyond their scope or ability to address. They are asked to heal catastrophic illness with Band-Aids.

    Rather than deal with these larger economic, social and cultural issues, which are far messier and could severely challenge the economic and political powers that created them, many of the corporate education reformers are content to focus on finding someone to blame, or on building intricate systems of goals and accountabilities, or simply restructuring the enterprise.

    So what creates better learning outcomes and a culture of success? A drive to learn and teach? A sense of optimism and hope?

    There are a number of lessons that we can learn from Finland, whose schools are now vaunted as some of the most successful in the world after languishing in mediocrity for much of the last century.
    Their magical turnaround relies on no magic at all: Finland addresses poverty, lack of housing and health care as part of a national provision of social benefits. Then they start with what drives a child to want to learn (for every kid is born hard-wired wanting to learn) and what inspires teachers to excel at teaching.

    Hint: It isn’t through narrowing the curriculum to focus more rigorously on core subjects. Nor is it to create more structured days, or more accountability to a unified curriculum, or more testing, or performance pay for teachers, or any of the myriad of other palliatives being offered up in the United States.

    Rather, elementary school children in Finland play a lot. They spend 75 minutes a day in recess, compared to about 25 minutes a day for American children. They do mandatory art, music, and crafts classes, which become venues for learning math, science and reading. Class sizes are small, and in high school science they are kept to 16 students to emphasize lab based activities. Finnish children learn by doing. Learning is exciting and fun, not the relentless drills on how to take multiple choice tests that many U.S. children endure.

    Teaching is not only a highly respected profession in Finland, but a highly sought after and competitive one. Teachers must achieve the equivalent of a Masters degree before being hired and then they are paid well. Finnish teachers are almost 100% organized in strong unions and they make about 105% of what their non-teaching counterparts earn with the same education, compared to about 70% for the United States.

    Finland uses national core standards as guidelines (rather than prescriptions) for teachers planning their curriculum, and schools are staffed so teachers have time during their day to create curriculum, plan collaboratively and discuss challenging questions around teaching and learning.
    Students are tested, but tests are used diagnostically, instead of being wielded as high stakes judgments to reward or punish schools and instructors.

    This creative teaching and learning environment is the high octane juice that fuels excellence. The result: highly qualified, highly motivated, highly innovative teachers who are allowed to do what they do best – teach kids.

    Is this approach to reform cheap? – No. But we have already seen the results of the cheap corporate turnaround models applied to public education: the quick grab for instant results, consultant driven panaceas, and the myopic narrowing of learning to higher reading and math scores.

    This is exactly the same short-term focus and restructuring that corporate America has pursued for the past three decades – merge, restructure, privatize, layoff, scapegoat and outsource – with dismal consequences.

    Free market fundamentalism didn’t work for our economy or for workers and our communities; there is little reason to hope that this same corporate approach will produce anything better for our schools and children.
    Posted on March 7, 2011 – 5:00pm by Erik Peterson
    • education reform

Comments are closed.