Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arne Has Left the Building

On the last day of 2015, the longest-serving member of President Obama’s Cabinet, Arne Duncan, quietly stepped down from his position. The Washington Post called him “the most powerful education secretary in U.S. history.” The federal government now provides about 10 percent of the money spent on public schools, and Duncan used that money, more than any education chief before him, to impose his will on local schools. Arne’s departure is a good time to review what’s wrong with America’s public schools and how the federal spending has made them worse. Arne Duncan chose to devote his final speech to complaining about Congress’s failure to pass new gun-control laws. His gun-control speech was given in Chicago which, despite the nation’s most restrictive gun laws, closed out the year 2015 with more homicides (468) and shootings (over 2,900) than any other American city, even more than New York and Los Angeles. With his call to deprive law-abiding citizens of the means to protect themselves in their own homes, it’s no wonder that Arne Duncan was rated the most “anti-gun” member of Obama’s Cabinet by the National Rifle Association.

Arne Duncan likes to brag that the high-school graduation rate edged upward to 82 percent during his tenure, but what he doesn’t say is that student achievement has simultaneously declined according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This test confirms that most of today’s high-school graduates simply haven’t learned what Americans expect high-school students to know, nor have they acquired the basic skills they need to support themselves and future families.

The value of a high-school diploma, measured by the earning power of graduates, continues to decline. Our free-trade economy is creating fewer jobs that require only a high-school diploma. Students who graduate from high school today are much worse off economically than high-school graduates of one, two, or three generations ago.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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