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Arne Duncan pumps DREAM Act

March 9, 2012

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a pass through town pumping support for the DREAM Act, while also touting some of the same federal education reform incentives that have made him controversial among teachers’ unions.

At a town hall Thursday night with Mayor Julián Castro, Duncan said undocumented students caught in immigration limbo (those brought into country illegally by their parents as kids) remain a priority for the education department and President Obama. “We have to get the DREAM Act passed, and the fact that it hasn’t happened yet is a source of immense frustration for both the president and I,” he said to applause. “This is not just about lifting up the Latino community, this is about lifting up the country.”

Society, he said, can either keep DREAM students on the margins or can usher them into the economy to become entrepreneurs, innovators, and job creators.

He also spoke of how the feds have worked to incentivize education reforms within the states by offering assistance through programs like Race to the Top, where, in exchange for becoming more charter-friendly, implementing new teacher evaluation measures, and adopting common “core” curriculum standards states could compete for federal dollars. To even compete for the funds, states had to let student performance data be tied to teachers, something that made unions bristle (the practice is controversial among teachers’ unions, who say schools need to look at more than just student test scores in evaluating teachers).

Gov. Rick Perry has in the past refused to let the state compete for Race to the Top funds, in 2010 saying, “We would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special-interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington.” Duncan said he met with the governor on Thursday to talk about containing college tuition costs.

Asked what he thought about teacher job satisfaction continuing to fall, Duncan said teachers currently have it rough, that they’re under-appreciated and underpaid:

“So many places are disinvesting in education. So many teachers are getting laid off. …The reality is we’ve had hundreds of thousands of teachers laid off around this country. And when you are out of work or you’re seeing a teacher, your partner down the hall being laid off and you’re worried about what’s going to happen next, it’s hard to be real satisfied with your job, it’s a time of high anxiety.”

In the next breath, he plugged his department’s proposed Project RESPECT, a program almost entirely geared toward pushing states to revamp teacher evaluation in exchange for federal cash, chock-full of stuff that makes teachers’ unions nervous (like tenure reform).



    I’m for the dream act with very strict guidelines, this can not another incentive for more illegals to come here knowing their children will be ok if they don’t get caught here illegally.  I’m also for getting rid of teacher tenure. Keep the the teachers who teach and show results and get rid of the dead wood.


    To hell with these other programs this beaucrat is trying to push, especially with federal money with strings.  GOV. don’t do it!

  • jg

    DREAM  ACT = AMNESTY.  We have had two other reforms and those did nothing but encourage more ILLEGAL Immigrants. I am pretty sure that with the English and Spanish we taught them at school, they will excell in their mother land when we pay their ticket back! Let their anchor baby siblings help them get citizenship when they become eligible.

  • Drew

    They need the voters and stupid voters multiply 5 times faster than NORMAL people!!!

  • csz

    It is election time right ? That’s what i thought. If  it wasn’t we would not even be having this discussion. So if the dream act passes does it mean that only the students remain here or does it mean the whole familia plus the other 50 relatives get to stay too ?

  • franieg

     Eduardo it appears you are not to sure what the article was all about. The teacher were not in the original topic..  You are entitled to believe what you think is right…..

  • frankieg

    I do not believe on the DREAM ACT, what is the purpose in it and how many students are continuing their education just to return to their motherland. I think that if a child knows that he/she is in the USA illegally then the kids should attempt to apply for temporary residence and later applying for permanent residence. I am a Hispanic and I grew around people from all around the neighboring country and people that were here illegally knew they were committing a crime and their didn’t use the excuse “I DIDN’T KNOW MY PARENTS WERE HERE ILLEGALLY” and yes they also knew what was meant by illegally. Any Dream Act Authorizations will only be on temporary status if any crime is committed the individual shall be deported immediately

    I feel that no college or university should accept any student without proof of citizenship, acceptance would be when clearance is verified. Proof of funds to pay for their continuing education.  Making it clear to all illegal aliens that they will be disqualified from applying or competing  for scholarship or grants regardless of any acceptance scores. And in the event that they dropout of college/university then they shall be face deportation at the earliest date.

    I don’t believe illegal aliens should be allowed to stay only because they are in school, I base this on that I know every country has colleges and universities and if they wish to expand their education they can transfer to a school in their motherland and further their education legally.

  • AllTruest

    What folks need to understand is that as long as you have the richest country (USA) living next to many of the poorest (Mexico and Central America) the only INCENTIVE that the downtrodden and hopeless need is proximity. If the Monroe Doctrine asserts the United States’ right to protect and act against any threat in the Americas (N. America, the Caribbean, S. America and Central America), then why have we allowed Mexico to wallow in the mire and immerse itself in Third World corruption and socio-economic unfairness, while being oblivious to the fact that this neglect and sometimes enabling impacts our well-being and security as a sovereign nation? You can’t keep the desperate masses out. The German, Scottish, Irish and Eastern Europeans immigrants in the 1800’s proved this. The Industrial Revolution proved this. Communism and their defectors proved this. The “Boat People” from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam proved this. What would you do if you had nothing and no hope and right beside you was the bastion of apparent progress and opulence? The Dream Act takes illegal immigrants’ children who were brought here not of their own volition and gives them a chance to become productive Americans. We will NEVER stop illegal immigration from the south, but at least we can give those who come here via their parents a chance to begin to become documented and integral parts of the greatest country on Earth. We train Indians and Chinese in droves, often for free WHILE paying them a stipend and a large percentage of them go right back to Asia when they’re done. How does that benefit us? Most of these “illegal immigrants” will stay right here. Use your heads AND your hearts, for once. REALLY think about your false logic and let’s get back to reality people. The Dream Act benefits everyone.

  • Ronald

    Mr. Duncan, Mr. Castro, Mr. Obuma, you are three peas in a pod. All three of you need to be trampled and thrown into the fire. All you want is votes and these illegal criminals will give them to you. You three are socialists and care nothing about our country or the law-abiding citizens. Go find you another country/city to destroy, not this one.

  • Ronald

    Mr. Duncan, Mr. Castro, Mr. Obuma, you are three peas in a pod. All three of you need to be trampled and thrown into the fire. All you want is votes and these illegal criminals will give them to you. You three are socialists and care nothing about our country or the law-abiding citizens. Go find you another country/city to destroy, not this one.

  • Smilin' Bob

    This is not a proper function of the federal government.  Read the Constitution and try again!

  • Dmezasolano

    Let’s get the Dream Act passed. It’s long overdue. Too many students are in the margins waiting to continue their higher education goals and give back to this wonderful country a thousand times over as new taxpayers. The Hispanic community is ‘watching” on how hard President Obama will fight for our community. Let’s get it done Mr. Prez.

  • Anonymous

    The “Dream Act” is a nightmare for american taxpayers. Arrest and deport the family, demanding reimbursement for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that each family steals from US taxpayers. It costs $10K per year per child to pay for grades 1-12. Additionally, you have all other “aid” that has been illegally acquired!