Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What Obama's education chief knows that many "conservative" education policymakers don't

One small sliver of light in an otherwise pretty dim Obama administration has been the people heading the U. S. Department of Education. Arne Duncan, who was far from perfect, was at least willing to take on the teachers unions and push charter schools.

Duncan's replacement is John B. King, Jr. I don't know much else about him, but his first comments as Secretary of Education indicated that he is in favor of, get this, "a well-rounded education." Get out!

He is also against the Cult of Testing that plagues education from sea to shining sea. 

King's remarks place him in stark contrast to the many voices on the Materialist Right who want to shun the arts and humanities in favor of math and science. If you listen to prominent Republican policy voices on education, it is clear they think STEM is the answer to our education problems, when, in fact, the chief education problem is that we are not passing our culture on to students--a culture that is best passed on in our history and literature.

I'm sure King, who was the head of New York State schools, has other beliefs I would not be quite as sympathetic toward, but his one idea--that education should be broad--puts him head and shoulders above the mindless STEM rhetoric we are constantly hearing from people who clearly got a poor education in the arts and humanities.

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