In what proved to be a very reflective conversation, Education Dive got his thoughts on his legacy, his regrets, and the current issues plaguing the Chicago school system. ARNE DUNCAN: No bill is perfect, but we are very pleased with how that bill turned out in terms of our values. Historically, in terms of reaction to No Child Left Behind—this is an unintended consequence, but it happens — many states dumbed down standards. And now, in the law of the nation, you have to have high standards. I always thought that there was too much focus on just a single test score in No Child Left Behind. There will be states with imperfections, it shouldn’t hurt teachers to be challenged. You’ve said that some of the reforms you spearheaded need 10-15 years to play out and show results, so is that legacy of reform compatible with ESSA? The fact that so many states have adopted higher standards is going to be a game changer over time, not overnight.
One quick example: We put a huge spotlight on reducing these dropout factories, where basically the majority of kids were failing. Duncan, seen here at Fern Creek High School in Louisville, KY, visited many of the nation’s schools on bus tours during his tenure. Is there anything you regret not being able to focus on more during your time leading the Department of Education? The second regret is that I desperately wanted to provide financial aid and college scholarships to DREAMERs, undocumented students. These are all things having to do with Congress, to sort of go back to your original question: That we need Congress to partner with us on early childhood education. What do you think large urban districts can do beyond legislative efforts to address and curb both gun violence, but also the school-to-prison pipeline? Where schools are challenging that and doing more restorative justice and peer juries — and more counselors and emotional and psychological support — you see, again, primarily young men of color doing better. Many districts have actually had very substantial reductions in suspensions and expulsions. To see someone probably going to jail, who is in a position of leadership and a position of trust, because they abused that trust, it’s just the kids who lose when that happens.
I’m actually pretty hopeful here, thanks not to what we did at the Department of Education, but because of what the FCC did.
Some states, like New York and California, have seen dramatically different responses to Common Core. Folks can tweak, and they move around the edges, but now you have in the law of the land a requirement for states to have high standards. And how your implement it is legally important, giving different abilities to implement well. As much as some charter models have seen great success, there have been a plethora of high-profile charter scandals nationwide — particularly in Ohio. The power of the idea behind charters was to have increased autonomy, being free from bureaucracy, to be creative, to have some vision and do things independently. A A A  Stinchcombe isna€™t crazy about the expression a€?beat the rap.a€? His view of the whole mess is decidedly less romantic. A A A  His ground of appeal was that during the trial the Crown refused to disclose important information to him. A A A  She indicated that she was no longer working for Stinchcombe on the date she had supposedly typed the document and seen Abrams sign it.
A A A  The trial judge ruled that it was perfectly proper for the Crown not to disclose these items, and the Alberta Court of Appeal agreed. A A A  The prosecutor wasna€™t sure if Abrams might have lied when he made an earlier assignment in bankruptcy, or whether he might have lied at Stinchcombea€™s preliminary inquiry. A A A  Stinchcombe was also turfed from his volunteer position with the Calgary Stampede, where he had worked extensively on the Indian Events Committee. A A A  As bad as the fallout from the criminal charges was, Stinchcombea€™s suspension from the practice of law may have had greater impact a€“ at least, on his day-to-day life. A A A  Soon after this judgment was released Stinchcombe was reinstated to the Alberta bar.
A A A  Jerry Schwartz, a Calgary electrical engineer who also complained that Stinchcombe ripped him off, says the reinstatement is a€?the best thing that could have happened to me.
A A A  Apparently Stinchcombe persuaded Schwartz, who had become both a client and a friend, to lend him $310,000 to help finance a hotel. A A A  The court observed that at some point Stinchcombe sold the stock but the proceeds never made it to Schwartz. A A A  Efforts to contact Jack Abrams who, if he is still with us, would be in his mid-eighties by now, were not successful.
A A A  Schwartz isna€™t bitter either, even though he took a financial hit and spent somewhere around $200,000 in legal fees pursuing various remedies, which he says he did a€?on principle.a€? He feels wronged, but he maintains a healthy perspective. There must be a lesson here, somewhere, although one probably wouldna€™t want to follow Stinchcombea€™sA exactA life-path. A A A  Although Stinchcombe became estranged from much of his family, he has largely reconciled.
A A A  He often wonders why the charges and complaints against him were pursued with such persistence and vigour, and whether, in regards to some of those charges and complaints, there might conceivably have been motivations other than the pure pursuit of justice. A A A  What would have happened if the smoking-gun memo had surfaced at the very beginning? More scientific testing is needed to explore possible safety and environmental dangers of biofuels, advocacy groups charge.
At stake here is not only the fuel economy, operating cost, and performance of your vehicle, but also potentially huge negative effects on all small engines. Politics might make strange bedfellows, but when environmental and industry advocacy groups hop into the sack together it gets our attention.
This is precisely what’s happening with a newly launched advertising campaign that challenges the pork-driven, pay-to-play U.S.
At stake here is not only the fuel economy, operating cost, and performance of your vehicle, but also potentially huge negative effects on all small engines, powering everything from lawn mowers, to outboard motors, to weed whackers, to chain saws – to name but a few.
Taxpayers currently subsidize corn ethanol at the rate of 45 cents a gallon, or roughly $6 billion last year. The first is how to decrease emissions and our dependence on imports of foreign oil from terrorist supporting countries. The second is a subset of the first: what if the biofuels we are using — ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas — really cause more emissions than they save?
That’s why how the EPA calculates the “life cycle emissions effects” is of such concern to the currently subsidized businesses, the agricultural lobby and various clean air special interest groups. Current law and infrastructure preclude the use of greater than 10% ethanol blends in conventional autos, although agricultural industry lobbyists are pushing for higher levels.
The anti ethanol groups have raised strong concerns about consumer safety and environmental protection, but what’s interesting to me is the coalition involved in the opposition. Typical scare mongering by intrenched industries who see that their stranglehold on a significant portion of the US economy is theatened by new energy alternatives. It is also interesting to see all the food industry folks that don’t want higher corn prices in the group along with the engine folks.


To give a couple of examples: For the first time ever, the bill incorporates early childhood education.
That’s a huge breakthrough that will hopefully help to challenge the past, where it was too easy for politicians to reduce standards. It comes out of 1955: the focus on equity, the focus on achievement gaps, the focus on dropout rates and dropout factories. Now we’re moving to graduation rates, to long-term outcomes, to giving more flexibility there.
They’re not guaranteed successes, but they start to put the nation in a spot — maybe in the ballpark. And despite the billion dollars for early childhood ed, there is still tremendous unmet need around the country.
And we were really hopeful that immigration reform would happen and that would be a part of it. We need Congress to partner with us, to give our department permission to provide financial aid to undocumented students. Just to be very clear, for me, the school-to-prison pipeline is basically what you’re doing for young boys of color. And [they’re] becoming community leaders and helping to contribute to building a positive culture in their schools. With the ongoing bribery scandal involving recent CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the other issues facing the district, what are your thoughts on the state of Chicago’s schools? And if Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked, would you return to your previous role as CEO?
Hopefully, they’ll find somebody who can stay with it for the long haul and who can build continuity. With the Future Ready Schools and Connected 2.0 initiatives, as well as the FCC’s E-rate program, is enough being done to bridge the tech gap? I’ve said this a lot publicly, but school districts just basically need to stop buying textbooks and start buying digital devices. We need to start thinking about how we use the scarce resources and in a more strategic way going forward. Should there have been a more uniform, steady rollout plan to keep it from going off the rails in some states? This came out of governors back in the ’90s talking about the need for states to have higher standards. The media likes to focus on the noise, and there is legitimate debate and pushback from the far left and the far right. What should be done to rein in bad actors in that sphere and mitigate any interests that might play a negative role? The goal is to have more high-performing schools of every form and fashion, including charters. It was September of 1987 when the former Calgary lawyer found himself driving his pick-up truck, with a trailer full of horses in tow, through the Alberta Rockies. However, the mountaintop reprieve was not the end but the beginning of an odyssey of trouble.
At the first trial, which occurred in February of 1989, he was convicted of criminal breach of trust, theft and fraud and sentenced to nine years in prison. All he knew was that Lineham, his star witness who had testified so helpfully at the preliminary inquiry, had now changed her story, or done something else disastrous, and the Crown, having decided she was a€?not worthy of credit,a€? was opting not to call her as a witness.
As trial number three was gearing up, with the tape in hand, it emerged that there wassomething elseA the Crown should have disclosed but hadna€™t. Police interviewed Abramsa€™ lawyer to see what the heck was going on, but he had no memory of conversations with the prosecutor, or with Abrams, about lying. Finally, on April 26, 2002, the Alberta Court of Appeal stayed all Law Society charges against him. Because if Stinchcombe starts making money, maybe Ia€™ll actually collect something.a€? Schwartz won a civil suit against him in March of 1994. According to the court, a€?Schwartz had no idea the hotel was facing foreclosure proceedings.a€? He also had no idea of the existence of Jack Abrams, and no idea that the stock Stinchcombe put up as collateral for the loan was clouded with dispute about who owned it a€“ Abrams claimed it was his, and that Stinchcombe had misappropriated it.
It was, after all, the bitter recession and real estate crash of the early 1980s, and money was evaporating left, right and centre.
He often thinks about the old legal adage: cases are not won and lost on what actually happened, but on whatA evidenceA comes out in court. Stinchcombea€™s voice a€“ over the phone from Australia a€“ is velvety, seductive, and altogether pleasant.
As he talks on the phone, his life-partner Margaret pipes up in the background: a€?We have a passion fruit on the vine!a€? He says the beach is visible in the distance, and the backyard is host to many attractive flora and fauna, including wild wallabies. He figures that, afterA Stinchcombe, criminal lawyers suddenly needed twice as much office space to store all the disclosed documents.
But to Stinchcombe, having a Supreme Court decision of such monumental importance named after him is no big deal. He was acquitted of the criminal charges, he had his licence to practise law reinstated, and he came out of it all with a smile.
Congress to put aside the influence – critics say bribes – of the huge contributions from agribusiness and stipulate that “objective” scientific testing be conducted before allowing an increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline. In 2012, the E10 market reaches saturation at approximately 12.5 – 14 billion gallons of ethanol annually. The groups collectively believe more testing is needed to determine how much ethanol is too much for different types of existing engines to use safely without risking engine failure that could leave a boat stranded at sea, a snowmobile stuck in subfreezing temperatures in a wilderness blizzard, or a motorcycle unable to move in the blazing heat of a desert.
It enables the oil companies to keep providing fuel to internal combustion engines that throw away about 80% of the energy in a tank of gas.
King Jr., is left with a limited amount of time and less influence to make his mark, though Duncan gave him a few words of wisdom on doing so. Those values that we think are so important, that we fought hard and tried to do it through policy and through our waivers, those things all now are in the law. To explain it better, you have to work with students, but it’s hard to make an argument that to lower standards somehow helps kids long-term. There’s a shot if people are smart and hold themselves accountable for student learning. The United States ranks something like 28th relative to other nations that provide access to high-quality pre-K. We all need to be working together to provide opportunity for children, particularly those in Chicago where there simply isn’t enough. There’s a huge increase in the number of schools that actually have access to high-speed broadband. Most textbooks are pretty much obsolete by the time they show up in the classroom, and all this stuff is expensive and there’s never enough money.
In places like Morrisville, NC, they’ve done an amazing job with the same resources, using technology, closing gaps.
There’s nothing about a name that tells you anything about quality, about what are the kids actually learning there. It’s so important for those who are authorizing charters, whether they are states or districts or universities, not to let a thousand flowers bloom, but to have very high quality where you have good authorization and accountability. He stood accused of misappropriating $1.6 million he allegedly held in trust for Calgary geologist Jack Abrams.


Then there wouldna€™t be a problem anymore.a€? What saved him was an eleventh-hour burst of sympathy for his animals. They stayed alive seven years, during which he was put on trial three a€“ repeat,A threeA a€“ separate times. Previously, at the preliminary inquiry, Lineham had said some things that might have exonerated Stinchcombe a€“ she testified that she had typed and witnessed the signing of a document which purported to abolish all trust agreements between Stinchcombe and Abrams. The police officer who possessed them had passed away of a brain tumor and his widow couldna€™t find them. There was a group a€“ the Magnificent Seven, he calls them a€“ who put up the $150,000 to bail him out of jail, where he was locked up for nearly a week.
It appears to me that he became caught up with people living a lifestyle to which he aspired but could not attain by working merely as a lawyer. EPA is responsible for revising and implementing regulations to ensure that gasoline sold in the United States contains a minimum volume of renewable fuels. How can we help them meet those needs and equip them with the skills to handle their situation?
And sadly, not surprisingly, suspensions and expulsions are disproportionately happening to young boys of color.
You had two people for 14 years, and now you’ve had five or six over the past seven years. Then good charters will and can grow and prosper, and bad charters who do not improve can be closed down.
He was in serious trouble, and the enormity of his predicament hit home that September day as he negotiated the mountain road.
The Crown managed to provide a photocopy of the statement andA transcriptsA of the tape, but Stinchcombe demanded the tape itself. It was enough to prompt the Crown who now had carriage of the file, Tudor Beattie of Albertaa€™s Dept.
I became paranoid to the extent that I didna€™t want to go anywhere for fear I would meet someone I knew and be snubbed.a€? He remembers one particular incident in a Calgary grocery store. Well, heA didA a€“ he ended up getting the principal of the loan back, from Stinchcombea€™s malpractice insurer. Although he now minimizes the lifestyle he came to lead, the fact is that he continually had a string of four to six polo ponies and related equipment and traveled around North America playing polo.
Ita€™s all water under the bridge.a€? As for Stinchcombe, Schwartz thinks of him as a€?a very, very articulate and affable guy.
Instead of ending up bitter and miserable, condemned to life of furtive wandering and resentful remembering, hea€™s at peace. The Renewable Fuel Standard program will increase the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into gasoline from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022. It’s controversial sometimes. But who can say that a thousand dropout factories is OK, and that no one cares if that number goes up? Like tens of thousands of additional schools now have the infrastructure to really accelerate the learning curve. But it was because when there were arguments with the Stampede Board, or if the Indians needed something said for them, I was the one who did it.a€? And sometimes those arguments turned passionate. But thinking in the long-term, there’s nothing more important we can do for kids than to challenge them to be actually college-ready, not only to graduate high school.
And worse, it describes a Gordian knot of financial transactions so convoluted that reading about them could cause serious mental trauma, even a brain hemorrhage.
And then I said yeah, but if I do that, then my son wona€™t have anybody to go to the movies with on Friday night.
There’s a real opportunity to take the next step, and my goal always had to be get better, faster.
They are young leaders who have worked hard, and then we slam shut the door of opportunity right after they leave high school.
We just totally cut off our nose to spite our face and condemn these talented, committed, smart young people.
That was a huge battle, and we would not have gotten it in without having (Sen.) Patty Murray (D-WA) be so strong. That's a huge breakthrough that will hopefully help to challenge the past, where it was too easy for politicians to reduce standards. By definition, if we're talking about three- and four-year-olds, we're not going to see graduation rates for another 11-12 years. The United States ranks something like 28th relative to other nations that provide access to high-quality pre-K.
And we were really hopeful that immigration reform would happen and that would be a part of it.
We just totally cut off our nose to spite our face and condemn these talented, committed, smart young people.
To really try to understand what is going on in the child's life, be it at school, in their community, or at home. How can we help them meet those needs and equip them with the skills to handle their situation? Just to be very clear, for me, the school-to-prison pipeline is basically what you're doing for young boys of color. Hopefully, they'll find somebody who can stay with it for the long haul and who can build continuity. With the Future Ready Schools and Connected 2.0 initiatives, as well as the FCC's E-rate program, is enough being done to bridge the tech gap? There's a huge increase in the number of schools that actually have access to high-speed broadband. Like tens of thousands of additional schools now have the infrastructure to really accelerate the learning curve. I've said this a lot publicly, but school districts just basically need to stop buying textbooks and start buying digital devices. Most textbooks are pretty much obsolete by the time they show up in the classroom, and all this stuff is expensive and there's never enough money. The fact is, in a short amount of time, with our incentives and tremendous leadership and courage from states, we had an absolute breakthrough. But thinking in the long-term, there's nothing more important we can do for kids than to challenge them to be actually college-ready, not only to graduate high school.
There's nothing magical about the name, whether it's a charter school or traditional neighborhood school or a magnet school. There's nothing about a name that tells you anything about quality, about what are the kids actually learning there.
I've been to amazing charter schools that are literally changing kids' life chances, but I've also gone to the National Charter School Convention and told them that they've got to stop protecting bad charters and close them down.



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