When he led the Chicago schools, Arne Duncan kept a list of all the big shots who asked for help in getting certain children into the city’s best public schools. The Chicago Tribune has reported that Duncan, now Obama’s Secretary of Education, created a back door appeals system that helped the children of the Politically connected get first dibs on the best school slots.
The list that Duncan kept included a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 Chicago aldermen, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun. Among others.
Non-connected parents, such as those who sought spots for their special-needs child or who were new to the city, also appear on the list. But the “people with friends in high places” made up about 75% of those making requests.
This is not the first or only time that Duncan, has shown favoritism to one particular group over another. In fact Duncan, like most officials within Obamas progressive government believe that all
men people are created equal, its just that some are more equal than others.
….Duncan insists it was just an appeals list on which parents could place kids who didn’t make it into the schools they wanted. He says that he didn’t do any lobbying for special placements.
“We were always very clear with them that it was up to the principal to make the decisions,” Duncan’s ex-flack, Peter Cunningham, now assistant secretary of education, told the Chicago Tribune.
But that argument doesn’t hold water, given that the list was kept secret from the public and Duncan’s initials appeared on 50 placement appeals, along with those of his wife, his mother and other political insiders with the clout to decide who got onto the list.
Duncan’s staff also made calls to principals. So those initials wouldn’t carry any weight now, would they? And if they meant nothing, why were they there at all?
Unfortunately, these lists seem to be cropping up more often, given the hand government has in schools. But the frustrating thing is that sneaky lists wouldn’t have been needed at all if Chicago didn’t have so many bad schools.
Instead of taking on the unions, demanding performance, and shutting down bad schools, Duncan declared victory and permitted special placements to shield his friends from the impact of his liberal policies.
But Duncan like most of the Obama administration believe that the unions are more “equal” than others. It goes beyond that, Much of the Obama agenda revolves around distributing special privileges.
Given the government takeovers in the private sector, it’s a sign of a growing problem coming down the pipeline, of two-tier systems to distribute spoils. Special privileges for the cronies, slop for the middle class.
It’s hardly the only instance of elitism in the Obama administration. In an era of government takeovers done in the name of “fairness,” every action has its little carve-outs.
This week, news broke that the government health care overhaul contains a little provision to exempt Congress and the staff members who wrote the bill from participation in “insurance exchanges” and unwanted mandates everyone else will be forced to buy.
Obama himself is exempt from the health care legislation, but he is willing to throw middle-class Americans in prison if they don’t buy health care plans as the law demands.
With the health care plan predicated on underpaying physicians, the next battle will be for access to physicians. But with the government involved, it will be the politically connected who get it.
It’s little different from what’s been seen elsewhere: When the government took over a large chunk of the automotive sector, the carve-outs for cronies were there — 200 years of U.S. bankruptcy law were thrown out so the United Auto Workers Union’s unsecured debts could take precedence over the secured debts of bondholders in the restructurings of General Motors and Chrysler.
Now with the government takeover of student loans, it’s a given that special lists will emerge as to who has access to those, as the state picks winners and losers. Merit or ability to pay will no longer matter in a game like this — only political connections will do.
It goes to show that George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” observation that as pious socialist pigs declare that “all animals are equal,” the reality is that some “are more equal than others.”
In the Soviet Union, the practice was so entrenched in the corrupt system that the groups with special privileges had a name: “nomenklatura.” Those who were part of it had special access to hard currency, forbidden Western music and radio, cars and drivers, dachas, and special shops to buy what they wanted, all in exchange for absolute loyalty to the political regime.
Duncan’s list is an inkling of the same monster that’s in store for us as the Obama administration in league with the Democratic leadership seek to place government in every aspect of our lives.