All right- I admit it- I’m a sucker for a cute frontman.
Arnie Duncan spoke at the Council for Exceptional Children conference last night and I was RIGHT THERE! Arnie Duncan is the Secretary of Education and basically in charge of, like, my whole professional life. He is however, a politician, and so I recognize that while he was saying good things (and was really cute!), there is a very large gap between what they SAY and what they DO…
But boy, did he say all the right things. Kids with disabilities have the right to inclusive settings. Kids who are gifted deserve the right to learn new things. He told a couple of stories. Teachers shouldn’t be expected to have their all of their children reach grade level, but to make a year’s worth of growth in a year (which is still an issue for some kids and teachers… but it’s better than what we have now). There should be money available from Congress to fund all of these federal requirements. There were lots of claps. Lots of cheers. No questions allowed. He was “preaching to the choir” and the hard details will be left for another day.
Now, of course… let’s see this really happen. Let’s see what No Child Left Behind looks like when it’s rewritten as Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Let’s see what Congress allows to actually happen. Let’s see what new pressures are put on teachers. Let’s see children truly be accepted. That’s real progress. But progress can’t happen without leadership, and at least the leaders are saying the right things..
He sure can talk. And he sure is cute. But he’s no miracle worker.
Oh, and I rode over to the Convention Center with “Dave”, the guitar player from Possum Kingdom, South Carolina Quartet, which is the name of the band that won Best Group at the Dove Awards last night here in Nashville. He was cute, too, and could sing a pretty song as well.