Secretary of Education Arne Duncan repeatedly declined to "call out" anyone holding up education reform at today's Washington Ideas Forum. Interviewed by NPR's Michel Martin, Duncan spoke in earnest generalities.
When he complained that no one was willing to "challenge the status quo" in education, Martin asked him to name names. Duncan skirted her question, choosing instead to focus on those who have pursued reform and innovation. "The media loves the conflict," he said, "but it hasn't done enough to highlight the profiles in courage" of those who have challenged the system.
Martin brought up a comment he made after watching the new education documentary "Waiting for Superman," describing the film as a "Rosa Parks moment" for education.
"I think the images are so compelling," Duncan explained. "These are real moms, real dads, real children, who, unless something changes, their children will get a horrible education. And that is just morally unacceptable."
Martin asked just how motivated people would be to change the public education system when 10 percent of Americans can afford to send their children to private school.
"It wasn't just African Americans who looked to Rosa Parks," Duncan said. "White folks looked at her and said, 'Something's wrong with our country.' When you look at our country and you look at this movie, you realize it's not just your kids."