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Duncan Adds Expert on Duct Tape to National Standards Team

Education Secretary Arne Duncan stressed the need to establish common achievement standards for the nation's 14,000 school districts during a visit to Upward!, a pre-pre-K school. Accompanying Duncan on his 9,685th charter school visit since taking office in late January 2009 was Dwayne Frick, the latest addition to Duncan's reform team.

As astute Newsweek reporter Eleanor Clift noted in her August 15 analysis of Arne Duncan, "He's so tall (6-foot-5)." At 5-foot-7 ½, Frick, who lettered in ping pong in high school, is unlikely to join the President's inner circle of basketball buddies. Demonstrating her ability to decipher the fine points of education policy, Clift noted that Duncan played basketball with Obama on Election Day.

In introducing Frick, Duncan indicated that height will not be an obstacle. "Dwayne Frick has exactly the ideas needed to help us get that tight, clear bar we are all shooting for." Frick, a graduate of the famed Broad Superintendents Academy, owns the Camel-Friendly Duct Tape franchise in Afghanistan.

"True education reformers understand the stakes, want to see change, and are determined to lift American education to a new level," continued Duncan. "Dwayne Frick will help us continue the perfect storm for reform with proven strategies for success."

Pounding the table, Duncan added, "I just want to remind schoolteachers working in this fundamentally broken system that my department has a lot of money. With this money, we will drive dramatic changes, we'll take to scale what works, invest in what works. Money flows to those who toe the line."

Asked about the press attention he received in 1998 when he was fired from Architectural Renewal, Inc. for using a foot-long hot dog as a ruler, Frick replied, "Important life experiences have taught me that failure is always an option."

Frick's first responsibility will be to gather a team to draft National Standards for faculty room refrigerator use. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he'll put all the power of his office behind this initiative. "We can do this one! Overnight us the money!"

A reporter from Substance News asked Duncan, "What was your worst mistake when you were CEO of the Chicago Public Schools?"

Duncan replied, "I'll get back to you on that" and exited the room.

— Susan Ohanian



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