I’ve noted before how the Chicago-based school reformers that are a key component of the Obama Administration send their kids, not to schools full of reformy goodness, but to schools that have policies which are the exact opposite of said reformy goodness. Well, we can add Education Secretary Arne Duncan to the list (boldface mine):
The news tells us this week that Arne Duncan’s family is moving back to Chicago and his children are enrolling at the University of Chicago Lab School in the fall.
There, they’ll join the mayor’s children.
Lab is an excellent, well-resourced private school with a rich arts curriculum, small classes, entire rooms devoted to holding musical instruments, a unionized teaching staff that you pretty much never hear anyone suggesting should be replaced by untrained temp workers, and not one single standardized test until students reach age 14.
In other words, Lab School has to date experienced not one ounce of influence from Arne Duncan’s Department of Ed. Not one ounce of impact from his policies….
He’s choosing to keep his kids out of the system that requires nearly continuous standardized testing each year: three iterations of the PARCC, three of the NWEA MAP, the REACH Performance Tasks; the NAEP, TRC + DIBELS, mClass Math, and IDEL specially for littles; and EXPLORE, PLAN, COMPASS, and STAR for bigs.
I know, he’s told us, like a father, it’s okay. Our kids can do this. It’s what’s best. It’s challenging. What kind of message does it send our children if we object to a challenge? He’s gotten this narrative out far and wide, so that folks who don’t have kids in school now can often be seen saying things in newspaper comments sections like, “Why can’t these whiners just shut up and take the test?” or “What a bunch of weaklings! These kids and parents don’t have any spines anymore if they don’t want to take the test!”
…By now Arne Duncan knows too much to send his kids to public school. Even so, he remains committed to all the policies and reforms he imposed based on zero research. Nevertheless he senses, as every corporate education controller senses, that the education he prescribes for other people’s children isn’t quite right for his own. In the fall he’ll be sending his kids to just the kind of school he’s been yearning for–one blissfully free of his own influence.
Maybe his kids aren’t tough enough to handle the tests?