My Letter to Arne

Dear Arne,

I know many members of the education revolution, fighting for the rights of ALL children for an equitable, meaningful and sustainable public education, are doing a jig of joy over your resignation. I share in their collective joy…and yet…well, I’m gonna kind of miss you.

I’m going to miss your vapid blank facial expressions. I am going to miss the empty rhetoric which any dolt could have written on the inside of a Hallmark greeting card, and call it a genuine response to our genuine problems. I am REALLY gonna miss those horrible foot- in- the- mouth gaffs you made, like the racist response to the people of New Orleans after Katrina and the way n which you erase the voices and actions of people of color which are central to the opt out movement by calling it a movement of “white middle class soccer moms.”

You made it so easy to fight back. You gave us so much fuel for fodder. Now what? Will King, being the asshat that he is, continue to destroy public education as badly as you have? I am sure he will. But will he be as much fun?

The first time you and I met was in 2011 during the Save Our Schools march when i gave you my hand made doll-in-a-box (made especially for you). I am sure you’ll take it with you when you leave and keep it somewhere to treasure always.

dollparade2

We met again when United Opt Out occupied the US Department of Education. You invited us in and shared with us the black hole that is your intellectual void .

The last time was met was just under a year ago when you spoke at UMBC in Baltimore MD. At the Q and A session is asked you this:

“My name is Morna McDermott. We have met before though I doubt you remember it. I stand here today representing the thousands of members of Save Our Schools, the 50 thousand members of the Bad Ass Teachers Association, and the 30 thousand plus members of the opt out movement as a founding organizer of United Opt Out. Collectively we ARE the voices of teachers, parents and activists who are disgusted by the reforms YOU have put in place which are destroying our childrens’ education, our teaching profession, and our communities. We refuse to sit by idly while you privatize our schools and destroy our democratic rights. My question for you is this: ARE YOU READY FOR US?”

Ahh. The blank expression on your face was something I’ll remember always. Sigh. But then you leaned in to your microphone and responded, “I am ready for anything.”

But, now you are resigning…so I guess you aren’t ready for us. I like to believe you are leaving in large part because of us. Because the revolution is growing … and you know it.

If we drove you out, we can drive out John King or anyone else the corporate king- makers choose to appoint.

Game on.

Sincerely,

Morna McDermott

Published by educationalchemy

Morna McDermott has been an educator for over twenty years in both k-12 and post secondary classrooms. She received her doctorate in education, with a dissertation focus on arts-based educational research, from The University of Virginia in 2001. Morna's teaching, scholarship, and activism center around the ways in which creativity, art, social justice, and democracy can transform education and empower communities. She is currently a Professor of Education at Towson University.

2 thoughts on “My Letter to Arne

  1. Extremely well said. Nothing like a Secretary of Education who never taught a day in his life yet refused to listen to the stakeholders(parents,teachers and students) yet was enough of a narcissist with enough hubris to believe that he knew more about education than they did. No only did he have no qualifications at all for the job,he had no respect at all for the people who actually cared about education and were most affected by it.

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