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Former Obama official says Trump wants an uneducated workforce due to his 'authoritarian tendencies

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan has used his book tour to criticize the Trump administration. He suggested that President Donald Trump is intentionally harming the American education system in order to institute an authoritarian government. (Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for People for the American Way Foundation)

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested that President Donald Trump is intentionally harming the American education system in order to institute an authoritarian government on Thursday.

Duncan told CNN, "I'm not sure President Trump wants to have the best-educated workforce. I think it doesn't play to his authoritarian tendencies."

Duncan's comments are the latest in a string of criticisms he's lobbed toward the current administration.

How's that?

While out promoting his new book, Duncan has taken a number of opportunities to criticize the leadership of both the president and current Education Secretary head Betsy DeVos.

Speaking on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday, Duncan talked about how the education system "runs on lies."

The toughest lie, he said, is that "we say we value kids and we've raised a generation of young people teens who have been raised on mass shootings and gun violence. And that simply doesn't happen in other nations."

The former secretary went on to tell host Margaret Brennan that he feels "a huge sense of urgency" to fix the U.S. education system.

"We have got to get better, faster as a nation," he said. "We're not top 10 in anything."

Duncan then criticized DeVos, saying she doesn't understand some basic concepts of education policy.

When pressed to explain further, Duncan said of DeVos, "You probably saw in the news — for me it was just a crazy metaphor — that about a week ago her yacht was found adrift. $40 million yacht just out there. For me that sort of represents where they are in terms of education policy. There isn't one."

Anything else?

The name of Duncan's book is "How Schools Work," and is being published by Simon & Schuster, which is a division of CBS Corporation. A review published in the Chicago Tribune last week proclaimed, "Arne Duncan's 'How Schools Work' is really about politics."

Duncan hasn't been afraid to wade into public discourse in the past, either. Last year, he joined former assistant education secretary for civil rights, Catherine Lhamon, in writing an op-ed slamming the Trump administration's decision to withdraw guidance on bathroom access for transgender students.

The title of the piece was "The White House's thoughtless, cruel and sad rollback of transgender rights."

Secretary Duncan served under President Barack Obama from 2009-15, following his tenure as the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.


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