Yesterday Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, named former Vice President Dick Cheney, Inquisitor General of Education. In his new post, Cheney will head the Battling Remissness by Utilizing Tyranny in Education (or BRUTE) task force. Their mission: Saving America from poor test scores. “This is a great opportunity for our children, and our schools, and our nation,” Duncan explained in a video released to the press.
Speaking from inside Dick Cheney’s top secret undisclosed location (rumored to be deep in the bowels of Underground Disney), Secretary Duncan issued his reasoning, “The key to making progress on education reform begins with respect for the teacher-student relationship. As he demonstrated while handling W’s presidency, Dick understands how to apply authority. He has a proven record of both action and results. I think we’ll begin to see immediate enhancements in the schools under his leadership.”
Though prone to silence or scowling (or both), during press releases, the new Inquisitor General decided to make a few comments regarding this new chapter in his storied career of service. The full script follows:
Thank you, Secretary Duncan. Thank you, American people. You’ve made a wise and strong decision today, one that will keep America safe from dissenting ideas, fractious debates, and weak handed approaches to education reform.
I’ll make certain our country never again faces the horror of underachievement. I’ve developed a comprehensive strategy, beginning with far greater homeroom-land security to make failure a harder target. But since the War on Failurism cannot be won on the defensive, I will move decisively against those terrorists (whom I’ll call “teachers” from here on) in their hideouts and sanctuaries, who enable low performance and who founder on short-sighted emotions like compassion and tolerance. I will commit to use every asset of assessment and accountability to take down their networks of weakness and “collaboration”.
I decided, as well, to confront the union regimes that sponsor tenure, and to go after those who provide sanctuary and funding to enemies of No Child Left Behind. I’ll turn special attention to professional development regimes, like universities, that have the capacity to build weapons of mass differentiation, and who might transfer such weapons to teachers.
Finally, our government understands that the safety of the country requires collecting information on multiple choice tests, information that is known only to the worst of the detainees (whom I’ll call “students” from here on). And in a few cases, that information could be gained only through tough interrogations.
And because there is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of American minds are in the balance, we will train a select force of elite teachers and administrators to use Enhanced Education Tactics (EETs) to ensure that when we ask questions we get answers. The new motto for all US schools: Discipline. Action. Performance. Or Else.
Reactions to this development have been mixed at best.
Sean Hannity of Fox News effused:
Brilliant. The first smart move by this niave administration.
Ann Coulter sneered:
Let’s just see those left wing wackos squirm their way out of this one. Once Cheney pries schools out from the hands of Michael Moore and his merry band of incompetent liberals we’ll see taxes drop, government shrink, and the wimpy progressivists who flock to teaching will have to find a new crutch to lean on.
Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote:
While the quest for bipartisanship remains a admirable ambition, the practice of supplanting your own leadership with a clearly partisan bulldog may well lead to ramifications far beyond the scope of the schoolyard. What’s more, Cheney’s history of acute secrecy stands to undermine open accountability at a time when headway toward transparency is finally gaining momentum.
Randi Weingarten, President of the American Teacher’s Federation, said:
This is a very troubling development that we will watch very closely in the coming days. I have already put in calls to the Secretary and IG as well as President Obama and the Attorney General, in addition to several prominant senators and congressmen, and NY mayor, Michael Bloomberg. A team of AFT lawyers is already combing the documentation coming out of the Department of Education. You can bet we’re going to fight this.
A White House aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the plan to create and offer this position to former Vice President Cheney came from President Obama himself. According to this source, the president felt strongly that keeping Cheney close and busy would be the best way to keep him off the Sunday morning talk shows.
Stay tuned. The next exclusive post on Ecology of Education will illuminate some of the EET’s IG Cheney will be utilizing to improve performance in our nation’s schools.