Sunday, November 17, 2013

Advice for Arne Duncan, from one privileged white male to another...

It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary.
Arne Duncan, Education Emperor

Arne Duncan is a privileged white male--you could look it up. (The first clue  is his first name--"Arne" is a bit too precious for my tastes--I can say that because I am also a privileged white male.)

It's fascinating to me to see how Arne breaks down demographics.

Let's suppose there's white/everyone-else, men/women, and suburban/urban/rural Americans. That gives us 12 permutations.  Go ahead, spin the wheel.

Georg Pencz, Wheel of Fortune, 1534


Everyone-else rural dads
          White suburban moms
                    White urban dads
                           Everyone-else rural moms                                                          Everyone-else suburban dads

Ponder your visceral reaction to each group as it comes up on the big wheel.
Ponder why you have any visceral reaction at all.

Then go ponder Jose Vilson's prescient "Excuse Me, Your Privilege is Showing (White Privilege in Ed Reform)."

It's not so much what Mr. Duncan thinks about white suburban moms--it's what he thinks about everybody else.

Until we confront racism in all its guises, the neo-liberal version of ed reform movement will continue to reek, no matter how much fancy cologne is dabbed on its stinking carcass.

Time to have that conversation.
Updated with help from Mr. Vilson.

xcuse Me, Your Privilege Is Showing (White Privilege in Ed Reform) - See more at:
xcuse Me, Your Privilege Is Showing (White Privilege in Ed Reform) - See more at:
xcuse Me, Your Privilege Is Showing (White Privilege in Ed Reform) - See more at:


Jose Vilson said...

I wanna reply to this right now, but ... let me link back to this instead.

Jeremy said...

I don't see anything wrong with his statement without making infrences from something other than the text. Especially because the quote has been removed from (an assumedly) larger piece of text, it is a challenge to understand the context of the statement. Also from the quote itself you cannot definitively say what the phrase "that's pretty scary" refers to. There is no clear answer for what he finds scary(or if he's speaking for the parents he was referring to). If he was saying that it is scary for white suburban mothers to find out that their children are not as smart as they initially believed( in this case meaning the moms are in fear and not Arne himself) then I wouldn't have a problem repeating the statement (or a few of the others I think it could mean).

doyle said...

Everybody, go read Vilson's words.

Dear Jeremy,

Most of us commenting on Duncan's phrase have read the larger text, and despite what the new CCSS standards push, context matters.

Duncan claims it was "clumsy phrasing"--but it underscores his worldview, one that has been harmful to too many children.

Duncan's statement also deceptively deflects from the truth addressed by Sabrina Stevens--kids from districts low-poverty schools are doing just fine compared to the rest of the world.

Jeremy said...

Please excuse typos as I won't be here for a while.

The words that followed were "You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”

I would agree. I would retract my statement that I wouldn't have a problem repeating the words he said as I am not fascinated by so called "white suburban mothers" who are reject the proposals of the standard. In his opinion though the ccs are above what is currently in place and if the ccs is projected to put kids in a situation that is no better than the current one, it would make sense that they would be angry if they thought their children were doing fine(as he said).

He said that some of the outrage is coming from white suburban moms, which is true if I'm not mistaken. He didn't say all. Maybe he's not fascinated by the opinions of suburban fathers, urban fathers or mothers, or anyone else with children or a life(eg students) that will be affected by this. He doesn't say whether he is or isn't so I'm not going to hold it against him, although the omission does show something.

It's also interested that if he replaced suburban white moms with any other non suburban or group of people who who experience poverty, it would probably make him seem out of touch or stupid as a lot of these parent's know that the areas they live in provide a somewhat sub-par education(this is anecdotal so I need to find some reliable surveys that reach out to a large number of people).

I don't agree with what he's doing and I don't think what he says is always true(by the way I did read the Mel Riddle article about the PISA results). If he removed the part about his fascination I think it would be different, but alas it is there. I can see why some are upset with the remarks because it would appear he is not extremely interested in the discontent of any other group of people, , but I think the..err.. problems people have with his words are semi overblown. I would rather ask him( which I probably will) if he is also "fascinated" by the rejection of attempting implementation of the ccs coming from other demographics, then assume he isn't when that block of words really only suits the demographic he spoke of( the whole statement about kids not being as bright ass they thought and investing money in houses in certain neighborhoods yada yada).

I want to know why he is fascinated to so I will ask him that as well.

Jeremy said...

I would like to also add to my previous comment that those parents who probably think that the neighborhoods they are in provide subpar education, that they probably also realize that the environment in which they live in doesn't allow for optimal learning either. I just wanted to say that s it doesn't seem like I'm unaware of that.