Arne Duncan: ‘Other Nations Value Their Children More than We Do’

Arne Duncan

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Americans value their children less than other developed nations, offering his remarks during a Monday interview with C-SPAN’s Pedro Echevarria.

Partial transcript below.

Let me just give you a couple of lies that really, unfortunately hurt kids and are detrimental to our country. First, we say we all care about education. We all say that, but I would ask the question, “How many of us as voters — Republican, Democrat, I could care less — go into voting booths and vote for a mayor, a governor, a congressman, a senator, or a president based upon their ability to improve educational outcomes?” We don’t do it. We don’t vote on education. I think that’s a real problem.

Secondly, we say we value teachers, but we don’t pay teacher what they’re worth. We don’t train them as true professionals. We don’t have meaningful career ladders. Great teachers change kids’ lives. They transform opportunities. We have to value teachers on an entirely different level.

And probably the toughest lie that is a hard one to talk about is, we all say we value children, but we allow a level of gun violence in this nation. We’ve allowed a generation of kids to grow up with mass shootings. We don’t invest in pre-k like other nations do and our babies off to a good start. I honestly believe — and again, this is a very tough thing to say — that other nations value their children more than we do. Here in the United States, I believe we value our guns more than we do our kids.

“This administration is bought and owned by the NRA,” added Duncan. “What troubles me most about this administration is there’s no education policy. There’s no goals. There’s no vision.”

Duncan cast President Donald Trump as preferring — and benefiting from — a dumbed down populace:

I’m not convinced this president wants to have the best educated citizenry in the world. When  you have the kind of authoritarian tendencies that President Trump has, when you call the press the enemy of the people, when you want to become the source of truth and everything else is fake or not real … I’m not sure it’s in this president’s best interests to have citizens who are well-educated, who can think critically.

At no point during the interview did Duncan acknowledge or criticize left-wing ubiquity across college and university campuses, teachers’ unions protections of poorly-performing schools and teachers, or overly centralized planning of educational infrastructure.

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