Obama's Education Secretary: Politicians ‘Dummied Down’ Education Standards So They Could Get Reelected

By Nicholas Ballasy | January 19, 2011 | 5:00 AM EST

(CNSNews.com) -- When speaking before Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan charged politicians with “dummy-ing down” state education standards under the No Child Left Behind Act to increase their chances of being re-elected.

“Historically in our country, I think particularly under the current law, No Child Left Behind, lots of states dummied down standards,” said Duncan at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King, Jr. day prayer breakfast on Monday.  “They reduced standards. Why? Wasn’t good for children; wasn’t good for education; wasn’t good for the country -- was good for politicians.”

“It made politicians look good,” he said. “You could dummy down your standards and tell the press and tell the public – if you could tell the public that more students in your state were quote/unquote meeting state standards, that helped you get re-elected. But it did a great disservice to young people.”

In the past, Duncan has criticized states for lowering standards.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

“What the president and I have been arguing pretty precipitously is, we’ve had 50 states doing their own things – 50 different bars – and in many places they’ve been dummied down and in fact we’ve been lying to states, including the state I’m from, Illinois,” Duncan told CNSNews.com in September 2009.


The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President Bush on Jan. 8, 2002 requires each state to “develop and implement a statewide accountability system that will be effective in ensuring that all local educational agencies, public elementary schools and public secondary schools make adequate yearly progress,” according to the Education Department’s web site.