The former secretary of education under President Obama, Arne Duncan, is proposing that parents keep their kids home from school until gun laws are changed.
Duncan tweeted this shockingly stupid proposal on Friday in response to a tweet from one of his former employees:
This is brilliant, and tragically necessary.
What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?
My family is all in if we can do this at scale.
Parents, will you please join us? https://t.co/Yo4wsFuJI5
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) May 18, 2018
Duncan said in an interview Saturday that the idea was intended to be provocative but that an aggressive approach like a school boycott is needed if gun laws are ever going to change. He has school-age children and said if this idea were to gain traction, his family would participate.
Lead the way! I’ll be right behind you! I promise.
“It’s wildly impractical and difficult,” Duncan said. “But I think it’s wildly impractical and difficult that kids are shot when they are sent to school.”
Those killed in Texas were at Sante Fe High School.
Duncan is the managing partner of Chicago Cred, an organization that works to curb gun violence in Chicago.
A school boycott, Duncan said, is just one suggestion, and he said he’d consider other creative ideas that could impel policy changes.
“I’m open to other ideas, I’m open to different ideas, but I’m not open to doing nothing,” Duncan said. “We will see whether this gains traction, or something does, but we have to think radically.”
Thinking radically is one thing. Thinking idiotically is quite another. Of course, Duncan can afford child care if his kids are yanked out of school. But those households where both parents are working would be hard-pressed to find someone to stay with their kids.
Aside from the inconvenience and expense, does Duncan have any idea how long those kids would be away from classroom learning? It would easily be months before “no children went to school until gun laws changed.”
Considering Duncan’s record while serving as education secretary, he hasn’t a clue how children’s education would be adversely affected:
One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.
Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.
The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.
“We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better,” said Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has long been skeptical that the Obama administration’s strategy would work. “Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”
As a former Chicago public schools superintendent, Duncan’s miserable record should have disqualified him from the education secretary job in the first place. But, in the bunch of mediocrities assembled by Obama to serve him, Duncan’s incompetence didn’t stand out.
The idea will go nowhere because most parents of school-age children are a lot smarter than the former education secretary.