Here’s my plan: Under a Warren administration, the Secretary of Education will be a public school teacher.

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 13, 2019

Oh, Lordy.

Why does everyone say Warren is oh-so-knowledgeable? She sounds deeply clueless with everything she says.

Honestly, I’m not seeing many benefits to the DOE at all. It’s wasting something like 70 billion every year to produce standardized testing, the Common Core (which I don’t know much about but teachers seem to hate), NCLB, Race to the Top, the notorious “dear colleague” letter, and other ridiculous initiatives. DOE is also being overrun with the imperatives of surveillance capitalism.

I understand what motivated its creation at the dawn of the neoliberal revolution. I even support the thinking behind it. But it’s been 40 years, and no good results are forthcoming. What’s the point? To make sure everyone teaches a decent curriculum? It’s not happening. The system churns out students who are less and less knowledgeable and prepared to exist in the world.

Does anybody know of anything that the DOE is doing that’s good and useful? Forget DeVos, what did it do that was great before her?

11 thoughts on “DOE”

  1. Warren seems knowledgeable when it comes to the issues she focused on during her time in politics (ex. consumer protection.) When she gets outside of her wheelhouse though, not so much. This is fine when you’re a senator but not fine when you’re running for president. This article calls out her supposed “wonkery.”

    “One of the most absurd myths developing in the 2020 Democratic presidential race is the idea that Warren, despite her poor performance in polls, is distinguishing herself by her policy seriousness in rolling out ideas to address financial struggles facing Americans. The only reason this narrative has developed is that she isn’t performing well enough to generate much scrutiny, and the political press is characteristically lazy when it comes to examining the finer details about policy. So, all they see is that Warren is constantly trotting out various plans, so they assume it must mean she’s taking policy seriously.

    In reality, her policy ideas are a joke. She is merely pandering by promising that the government can pay for all of the expenses that are currently putting a financial strain on families. Her proposals do not grapple with implementation challenges, and they rely on deceptive accounting. The biggest joke is how she’s promised to pay for all of her proposals by taxing ultramillionaires.”


    1. Exactly! That’s exactly what I mean. These “policies” are a joke. This is our equivalent to “I’ll build the wall and Mexico will pay for it.”

      Man. Who are we going to vote for? My mantra of “at least s/he’s not Beto” is wearing thin.


      1. I’ve reluctantly put Bernie at the top of my list again. I’m still annoyed with him but other people have annoyed me even more. I’m keeping an open mind though; maybe one of the complete underdogs that I like will do way better than expected and end up a contender.

        All I can say is that that my vote in November is probably going to be the least enthusiastic vote I ever cast (and if a complete loser wins the primary, I won’t vote for president.) I’m going to be showing up primarily to vote for local offices.


        1. Same here. I keep feeling stunned that it’s proving so hard to come up with a good, solid alternative to Trump.

          Trump! This should be the easiest election in the world to win! Just stay on point, don’t fantasize, and don’t promote initiatives that voters massively hate. Anybody semi-decent , with a pro-labor, anti-neoliberal position could easily win. And yet, there’s no one. It’s very frustrating.


  2. I actually think that public school teachers know better than anyone what a waste of time and money all the testing/common core/micromanaging lesson plans/administrative bureaucracy are. Just like most professors know what bullshit the overpayed overstuffed administration is at a university. The problem now is that the secretary of education and all of the local the school superindendents come from a class of functionaries who never teach, but instead have bullshit administrative degrees in education management.
    For example listen to this bullshit about the qualifications of Baltimore City’s school superintendent

    “Dr. Santelises began her career in education as director of professional development and teacher placement with Teach for America (New York). She then served as a teacher and curriculum specialist at Decatur Clearpool School, a year-round school in Brooklyn, where she oversaw the founding of the middle school. Before joining Boston Public Schools, Dr. Santelises lectured on urban education for two years at Harvard University and spent six years as a senior associate with Focus on Results Inc., where she coached superintendents and trained school leaders in five major urban districts. Prior to that, she served as executive director of the New York City Algebra Project, the local site of the acclaimed national math reform program……She holds a Master of Arts degree in education administration from Columbia University and a Doctor of Education in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University.”

    “Curriculum specialist “”math reform” “Focus on Results Inc.”!

    Most of the cirriculum “innovation” is done by a bunch of charlatans. This has been a problem for k-12 education in this country for a long time before the same kinds of bullshit leaked into the higher education system. The educational administrative class SUCKS. If Warren is saying she would rather have education administrators who did 15-20 years in the classroom then 10 as a school principal I am all for it.


    1. Thing is. Being a specialist doesn’t translate into knowing how to administrate specialists. Academic departments are notorious pools of drama, scandal, and ridiculousness precisely because great scholars and talented educators don’t make for good managers. These are different professions. It’s the same as being a diabetic doesn’t teach you how to treat diabetes.

      People are asking me to be the department chair. But I realize that I will stink. Just like everybody before me did, even though they are amazing people and great specialists.

      Managing people is a skill. You have to train for it. A good history teacher is as likely to be a good head for the DOE as a good plumber or a good dentist.


  3. But some skills cannot be taught in an expensive and specialized masters degree program like ‘education management. These school superindendents just get passed around the country from one school district to another, just like our provosts and deans and university presidents. Like university administration, they come up with money wasting “initiatives’ that do not ultimately benefit anyone just so they have something to put on a resume. Things like computers replacing teachers, or ridiculous reconfigurations of curriculum, or the addition of new administrative departments. Like university administrators, they are not fired if they fail, they just move sideways to another school district. Only in lower-ed these people are created through a series of expensive masters level professional certificates (which themselves are largely a money making scam by cash strapped universities). I agree only a small percent of teachers are fit to manage, but this is not the proper framework for identifying and supporting good managers.


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