Wendy Lecker Misquotes Duncan And Then Argues Another Point

Wendy Lecker says there’s “a crisis of low standards.”

See? I can take things out of context too!

In a recent editorial for the Stamford Advocate, lawyer-turned-irate-activist Wendy Lecker bashes U.S. Commissioner of Education Arne Duncan for saying “low standards” caused America’s staggering achievement gap.

Except that’s not what Duncan really said. Nice try, but no go.

After searching the internet, I found several instances of Duncan using the phrase, “a crisis of low standards,” but what he really is talking about is America’s competitiveness against other countries. [, 6/25/2013; US News, 1/14/2014]

He wasn’t just talking about the Common Core either. Duncan suggested we refocus as a country and concentrate our efforts on improving education and closing the achievement gap.

Lecker can quote studies about high school GPAs and how that relates to college success all she wants, but that doesn’t change that American students aren’t as competitive as they used to be internationally.

On the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, American students dropped from 23rd in the world to 29 in math over the past three years, which is lower than average for OCED countries. In Science the United States’ rank went down from 18 to 22. [Education Week, 12/2/2013]

the PISA results released in late 2013 also revealed the gap between states. While Massachusetts and Connecticut as a state ranked among top-performing countries, Florida ranked well below.

While Connecticut’s wealthier students rank competitively internationally, low-income students where are par with developing countries and were well below the United States average. [OCED, Key Findings, United States]

It’s clear there are disparities in the quality of education American students are receiving. This is where the Common Core comes in.

The Common Core gives a set of universal standards among participating states that level the playing field, and the aligned assessments, will allow schools and states the ability to honestly measure student achievement.

Lecker disagrees, she wants to keep everything the same, and blame it on external forces — such as poverty. It’s as if she’s saying that poor people can’t read.

While poverty definitely has an impact on education, poverty doesn’t equal destiny.

My question to Lecker: If poverty was the only reason for such great disparities in the quality of education, why are low-income students performing well at some Connecticut schools and why are poorer countries out-ranking the United States?



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