Arne Duncan on Colbert

On Tuesday night, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was a featured guest on The Colbert Report. While some of us were expecting a little more oomph from Duncan’s responses, Stephen Colbert luckily kept us laughing with these education-themed zingers:

  • In honor of Constitution Day, Colbert started off with a little quiz of Duncan’s founding document knowledge: “Which of the following is not mentioned in the Constitution? The Department of Education or…it was the first one. Why do we have a Department of Education?”
  • Delving into Obama’s goals for education, Colbert quipped, “What is Race to the Top? And why does everything have to be about race with this guy?”…“As we race to the top, are we still leaving no child behind? Or do we have to cut them loose because they can’t race?”
  • Shifting gears to the Common Core State Standards, Colbert enquired about some of the potential instructional changes, namely students reading manuals and memos in lieu of literature. When Duncan was slow to take the bait, Colbert joked, “That was like pulling teeth without an instruction manual.”
  • When Duncan argued we need to invest in going digital over purchasing textbooks, Colbert retorted, “When I was in high school the only thing that kept me from being stuffed into my locker on a daily basis was that it was full of books!”
  • To close out, Colbert asked about universal preschool, demanding, “Why do you want to take our children away from us when they are at their most adorable?” Duncan responded that it’s the best investment we can make, and Colbert ended with, “So if I invest in one pre-Kindergartener, I get seven of them when they graduate? Well I’m in!”

Dear Stephen: We hope that our Secretary of Education’s relatively unamusing performance (get it together, Duncan!) does not color your opinion of ed reformers in general. We’ve got moves!

More By Author

Related Articles