Time‘s Andrew Rotherham asked the Education Secretary why he was putting down Texas schools, and got no real answer. Here’s the story:
Policy wonks like me had woken up to baffling reports that Duncan told Bloomberg Television’s Al Hunt that the Texas school system “has really struggled” under Rick Perry, the GOP governor who just announced he is running for President. “Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college,” Duncan said in the TV interview, which is scheduled to air this weekend, telling Hunt that he feels “very, very badly for the children there.”
When I asked Duncan about this dire assessment in an interview I had scheduled today for my next School of Thought column, the former head of the Chicago school system was light on specifics:
“Texas has challenges. The record speaks for itself. Lots of other states have challenges too. But there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done in Texas and a lot of children who need a chance to get a great education.”
But what about the fact, I responded, that on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Texas’ fourth- and eighth-graders substantially outperformed their peers in Chicago in reading and math?
“I would have to look at all the details, but there are real challenges in Texas. And like every other state, they should be addressed openly and honestly as in Illinois, as in Chicago, and everywhere else.”
Confused? Me too, and I do this for a living.