** “The U.S. Department of Education is legally prohibited from having any control over curriculum or instruction in the nation’s public schools, but nonetheless, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is a zealous advocate of the new Common Core Standards for students’ proficiency in English and math. First, he said their critics were members of extremist groups, and he recently assailed the parents who criticize them as ‘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.'” ~ Diane Ravitch, education historian

** “Given a political environment in which it is acceptable to portray teachers as pension grubbing takers that only work half the year and need to be fired, I’m frankly surprised that 9% of students even consider teaching. Bill Gates may decry the lack of teachers but look where he’s putting his money. Into misguided programs that seek to create ‘teacher accountability’ by incessant testing and destroying public education by turning it over to for-profit charters and private schools that mostly escape these accountability measures. The open attacks on teachers unions and teacher organizations. The Common Core is driven completely by the big corps that will profit from the profligate testing and specialized teaching materials to match.” ~ Doug Cullen

** “Though I have loved the intellectual demands and constant challenge of teaching, I would never encourage anyone I cared about to enter the profession. America, you have not supported us with the time needed to do the best we can for your children, nor the supplies, nor the policies, nor even the money for the thousands of books, pencils, and professional development I have paid for, not to mention the refusal of a living wage …” ~ Jann Geyer, educator

** “Next, people will be blaming the teachers [for test performance]. In reality, it’s our ‘not my responsibility’ society that is to blame. Today’s parents look at schools as babysitting services and expect teachers to complete the parenting process for them. If you want your kids to learn more and perform better, take some personal responsibility for their education!” ~ Mike Stevens, USA Today reader

** “Most U.S. school systems are changing their annual exams to reflect the new Common Core Standards. But schools have little experience teaching to that more challenging model. It makes no sense to assess teachers with student results on such new and inadequately understood exams. So let’s take a year off. Schools can give the new tests but use the results only for improving teaching methods, not for assessing students and teachers. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says this is a terrible ides. He thinks it would be bad for students and teachers …” ~ Jay Mathews, Washington Post

** “Arne Duncan brought the most ambitious reform agenda in years to the Department of Education–and a determination to use every lever of power to accomplish it. The results were stunning: In barely a year, more than 100 state laws were passed to open public schools to competition and set tough new standards for students and teachers. Duncan won allies on the right and the left, becoming one of the few Cabinet members with bipartisan support. But the agenda he began to advance in 2009 has now hit serious roadblocks, highlighting the limits of federal power over education. States are balking at reforms they pledged to implement in exchange for grants and waivers from federal law. An unprecedented $5 billion intervention in the nation’s worst schools has yielded incremental results, at best. A noisy opposition to Duncan’s reforms has emerged–and it only grew noisier this month when Duncan dissed ‘white suburban moms’ for opposing the new Common Core academic standards because the tough tests made their kids look bad. To top it off, there’s no clear evidence that Duncan’s prescriptions are boosting student achievement, though his backers say it’s still to early to tell.” ~ Stephanie Simon, Politico