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Secretary Duncan's Outbursts Mar Research Conference

This item is from Education Tweak,
A Journal of Opinion, Research, and Farce, #12.

by Staff

Seattle, WA. This year's annual conference
about research on education was repeatedly
interrupted by cries of "You Lie!" by U.S.
Secretary from Education Arne Duncan.

The initial incident occurred on Tuesday
morning, during a session about charter
schools. Members of the audience reported that
Duncan, who was sitting near the front, jumped
to his feet and shouted "You Lie!" just after a
panelist said, "We now know beyond any
reasonable doubt that charter schools are not
likely to drive substantial innovation or
improvements in student achievement."

Later, during a Tuesday afternoon session about
alternative approaches to principal and teacher
evaluation and compensation, the Secretary
again leapt up, yelling "You Lie! You Lie!"
when a panelist explained the fundamental
principle that tests should be used only for the
purpose for which they were developed, and
"tests developed to assess student knowledge
have not been validated for use in evaluating
teachers or principals." Five minutes later,
when the same panelist said that research on
test-score-based teacher evaluation is
undeveloped and could not support a major
scaling up of the policy, Duncan could be
heard throughout the auditorium repeating
"You Lie! You Lie! You Lie!"

The final "You Lie!" incident occurred the next
morning, during an address by NYU professor
Diane Ravitch, when she suggested that
Duncan "really is Margaret Spellings [the Bush
Education Secretary] without the glasses and
wearing very high heels." This time, he also
elevated his leg and pointed to his low-heeled

When asked about these outbursts, the
Secretary insisted that they were all unscripted, spontaneous reactions. "I've done a magnificent job surrounding myself with people who pretend that the research actually supports our policies. So it's quite a shock to my system to hear anything contradicting that. Rest assured, I'll have a stern talk with my scheduler when I get back to the office."

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— staff


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