Arne Duncan: ESSA embodies the “core of our agenda”


Politico Pro just released an interview with outgoing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that is pretty damning of Congressional Republican leadership.

They asked about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

I’m stunned. at how much better it ended up than either [House or Senate] bill going into conference. I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it…

…if you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in the law are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards [i.e.,Common Core], not turning a blind eye when things are bad. For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman John Kline (R-MN) fed this bill to their colleagues with talking points that it returns local control, provides more flexibility for states, and “ends Common Core.”  Over and over and over we heard about how this bill will end the “national school board.”

Yet Duncan on his way out says that what they’ve “promoted and proposed forever” is embedded in their bill.

Had members of Congress actually read the bill they would have seen that. We knew, we warned, and our warnings fell on deaf ears.  We’ll remember.

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