NEA to Debate Firing Arne Duncan, Again

Fact #1: A lot of people in the education establishment don’t like U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Fact #2: The guy who chose Duncan doesn’t particularly care about Fact #1.

Fact #3: That guy’s opinion is the only one that matters.

I mention this because there will be a new business item introduced at the National Education Association Representative Assembly (RA) in Atlanta this July that, in part, calls upon NEA and AFT to come up with “a unified plan to replace Arne Duncan as Secretary of the Department of Education and bring about the changes in the policies of the Department of Education that will help teachers teach and students learn.” It will be introduced by Buffalo Teachers Federation president Phil Rumore.

The convention delegates can spend their time any way they please, but since 2009, when Duncan addressed the RA in his first year as Secretary of Education, there have been annual efforts to have him removed. In 2010, there was NBI 44, urging President Obama to replace Duncan “with a person who is aligned with the interests of the NEA, its members, and especially the students it serves.” In 2011, there was NBI C, a 13-charge indictment of Duncan and his crimes against humanity, and last year there was NBI 25, which read, “The NEA Representative Assembly calls for the immediate removal of Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, and an end to Race to the Top.”

Despite all this, there hasn’t been even the slightest hint in four years that Duncan is in any danger of losing his job. Clearly, being part of the Reptilian Conspiracy has its advantages.

NEA had its chance to keep Duncan out of DC entirely, and failed to take it. The union could have endorsed Hillary Clinton when she and Obama were neck-and-neck for the Democratic nomination. But there was pro-Obama sentiment at the very top of NEA, despite the obvious signs of fundamental differences in his approach to education policy and that of NEA. It might have even worked out if they had endorsed Obama when he really needed it. Instead the union hemmed and hawed, only formally endorsing Obama after he had already wrapped up the nomination.

The fallout from that process was Arne Duncan. No use complaining about it now. There will be a change in the policies of the Department of Education. It will come in 2017, guaranteed.