The mythologizing of Arne Duncan is moving along at a pretty fast past. Bernie Noven alerted me to this adulatory article from the London Economist and urged me to respond using some of the recent data about Arne’s record here in Chicago, saying that people “out there” have no idea about the reaiity here in Chicago. Here’s what I sent.
“Golden Boy” Arne Duncan is a pleasant fellow who held the position of Chicago Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chicago Public Schools for seven years without losing his cool.
He’s so cool, in fact, that butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.
As a long-time Chicago public school parent advocate, I have had a front row seat at the Arne Duncan show. When Mayor Richard Daley appointed Mr. Duncan to replace Paul Vallas in 2001, there was a palpable sense of relief across the city. The new CEO’s Opie-from-Mayberry modesty was a soothing antidote to the previous six years spent with a CEO who could suck the oxygen out of a room.
We soon discovered, however, that Mr. Duncan simply provided a more complaisant and – more importantly – a more compliant cover for City Hall’s machinations.