Failed Education Secretary's Chief Regret is Lack of Gun Control Legislation
Outgoing Secretary of Education Arne Duncan capped off his disastrous time as America’s chief education bureaucrat with typical incoherence declaring that his “greatest frustration” upon leaving office is that his boss and basketball pal Barack Obama failed to force national gun-control legislation through Congress. If you wonder why many conservatives believe that the country would be better off without a Department of Education, this is as good an example as any. The American educational system has abundant problems (too deep seated and widespread to address here) but the absence of additional federal gun-control legislation most assuredly is not one of them, nor is it something that Duncan ought to have devoted any thought to whatsoever in his capacity as Secretary of Education.
Like the Obama administration as a whole, Duncan’s fixation on general liberal ideological goals effectively prevents him from identifying and addressing the real problems besetting America’s educational system. But this is of a piece with almost everything about this administration.
Obama’s most important function is protecting the country, which like the education system is beset by threats. Yet Obama refuses to identify Islamic terrorism as the chief threat to American security, though it is undeniably the case. Instead, in accord with leftist dogma Obama declared “climate change” to be the America’s principle security concern, a non-sequitur of proportion so stunning that Duncan’s cognitive incoherence pales in comparison.
But to return to Duncan, he has plenty of reason other than ideology to misdirect the public’s attention from his utterly failed tenure. Even when Duncan speaks reflectively as to the actual issues impacting American education he cannot do more than claim -- still falsely -- the most minimal progress. “This is not some ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment, not even close,” Duncan said in another recent swansong speech, the not so sly reference to the Bush administration making the declaration all the more pathetic.
The fact is, "Race to the Top", the Obama administration’s signature educational initiative, and Duncan’s primary responsibility, is a remarkable fiasco even by the stupendous record of education program failures that preceded it. The American public is literally voting against it with its feet, children and parents refusing to participate in questionable testing regimes that are supported only among a disconnected and incestuous pairing of government elites and a highly profitable (and useless) consulting industry. Expect Duncan to join the latter soon, at the people’s continuing expense.