Arne Duncan on “Waiting for Superman” and Teachers’ Unions

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Arne Duncan. Source of photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. 26) Have you seen the new film “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary opening this week that makes public education in this country seem totally dysfunctional?
I did. I think it’s going to help the country to understand the tremendous sense of urgency that I feel. We have parents who know their child is getting a subpar education. That is devastating to them and ultimately it’s devastating to our country.
The film blames teachers’ unions for the failure of public schools because the unions have made it almost impossible to fire lazy teachers. Are you against teachers’ unions?
Of course not. I’m a big fan of Randi’s.

Randi Weingarten, of the American Federation of Teachers? The film depicts her as a villain.
I think Randi is providing some courageous leadership and is actually taking some heat internally in the union because she said publicly that the union shouldn’t be protecting bad teachers.

For the full interview, see:
DEBORAH SOLOMON. “Questions for Arne Duncan; The School of Hard Drives.” The New York Times, Magazine Section (Sun., September 17, 2010): 26.
(Note: the online version of the article is dated September 16, 2010.)

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