Thursday, January 13, 2011

Arne Duncan Injects Feds in Wash DC Chancellor Decision

From TheMail at DC Watch- Gary Imhoff

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan “said Monday that he hopes interim DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson stays in the position ‘for the long haul,’ endorsing her strongly while Mayor Vincent C. Gray deliberates on his permanent choice for a new schools leader. Duncan’s praise of Henderson, in an interview with The Washington Post, injected the Obama administration into one of the new mayor’s most critical appointments,” Maybe I’ve misunderstood the politics of home rule. Aren’t we supposed to be highly offended if any federal official injects himself into the local decisions of this city? Aren’t we supposed to protest some fed’s telling DC government what policy it should pursue or whom it should appoint to its own positions? So where’s the outrage at Duncan’s presumption? Where are the outspoken press releases from Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and DC Vote telling Duncan to butt out of DC’s business? Where are the speeches by city government officials saying that the decision of whom to appoint as chancellor is our business, and not the federal government’s? Where is the Washington Post’s editorial saying that the federal government would never tell any state whom it should appoint to its state positions, and shouldn’t treat the DC government with such contempt? Or is this so-called bedrock “principle” of federal noninterference merely empty rhetoric and a cover for partisanship? Does it just mean that Republicans should keep their hands off, while Democrats are welcome to dictate policy and personnel to DC? The Post’s actual editorial on Monday,, didn’t chide Duncan for his presumption, but praised him for his “welcome words on DC school reform.” It called his stance “refreshing.” It excused his obvious direction to Mr. Gray as not being an attempt to “micromanage.” Does anyone think that if a Republican federal official, say John Kline, the new Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, were to name whom Mayor Gray should appoint as Chancellor of DC public schools, that DC Vote, Mayor Gray, Delegate Norton, and the Post would thank him graciously for his welcome suggestion? Why should DC citizens take home rule rhetoric seriously, when the people who preach it most vociferously don’t take it seriously themselves? Hypocrisy rules.

Leonie comments:
Where was the press when Arne Duncan practically endorsed Bloomberg for re-election, and allowed him to use his face and words on his campaign literature -- a Republican no less?  He has also supported Cathie Black's nomination  -- saying she has the potential to be a fantastic leader."  The fact that he has spoken out about DC's choice of Chancellor is not surprising. 
Duncan has intruded into nearly every district and local issue you can think of and gotten away w/ it.  He faces massive resistance to his policies among parents and teachers, and yet says he hasn't encountered anyone who disagrees w/ him. 
Duncan is even more dishonest in this regard than Joel Klein, who at least admits that alot of people opposed his policies (though to this day, Klein insists it's because "his voice wasn't heard" sufficiently.)  Hah!
Leonie Haimson

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