The Conversation

Sec. Duncan Does His Best Susan Rice Impersonation

Secretary Duncan's statement about sequester on Sunday's Face the Nation is about as accurate as Susan Rice's explanation of the cause of the 9/11 attack on our Benghazi consulate. In both cases, their superiors at the White House, who sent them out to peddle bogus information, deserve most of the blame.

On Sunday, Sec. Duncan claimed, "There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall." Over at the Washington Post Karen Tumulty and Lyndsey Layton do a nice job puncturing this bit of White House hype:

When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.”

As now seems par for the course with this administration, their surrogates first say what they're told to say and only later admit they don't know if it's accurate. In Duncan's case, it turns out his claims are not. The notices in question are "transfer notices" not pink slips. They indicate that a teacher may be transferred, not that they are about to be fired. In fact, the Post finds that 104 notices went out as required by state law but just "five to six teaching jobs" will be cut. This will happen whether sequester cuts take place or not. At least it didn't take two weeks to get to the truth this time.


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