Author archives: David Nammo

Change Watch Backgrounder: Arne Duncan

by David Nammo

January 8, 2009


POSITION: Secretary of Education

BIRTH DATE: Nov. 6, 1964

EDUCATION:  Magna Cum Laude, Harvard University, Sociology Degree, 1987

FAMILY:  Wife, Karen (Australian-American) and two children.

EXPERIENCE:  Arne Duncan was born and raised in the Hyde Park, Chicago area.  He attended University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.  He was accepted to Harvard University, where he was co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American.  Mr. Duncan played professional basketball in Australia after graduation from 1987-1991, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.

Duncan moved back to Chicago in 1992  and directed the Ariel Education Initiative, a program to enhance educational opportunities for students on Chicago’s South Side.  In 1998, he began working for the Chicago Public Schools and in 2001, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley named Duncan as the Chief Executive Officer. 


No Child Left Behind

Duncan has called for more flexibility in the No Child Left Behind school accountability law, but does not intend to scrap the initiative entirely.

Gay High School

Arne Duncan approved a proposed gay-friendly Chicago Social Justice High School - Pride Campus.  The school would have been committed to affirming homosexuality in adolescents, have been publicly subsidized and included homosexuality-affirming curricula.  


Comprehensive Sex Education & Playboy

Chicago Public Schools adopted a comprehensive sex education curricula called passed the Family Life and Comprehensive Sexual Health Education policy in 2006, under Arne Duncan’s leadership.  The policy was crafted in coordination with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, according to the Windy City Times, a pro-homosexual website.   

The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, a leading group promoting comprehensive sex education, held its Spring 2006 fundraiser at the Playboy mansion.

Comprehensive sex education” is education-speak for sex education curricula that, among other things, teach students subversive views of sexual conduct, abortion, and homosexuality. Here are some of the topics covered in typical comprehensive sex ed curricula:

  • Provides values-based education and offers students the opportunity to explore and define their individual values as well as the values of their families and communities
  • Includes a wide variety of sexuality related topics, such as human development, relationships, interpersonal skills, sexual expression, sexual health, and society and culture
  • Includes accurate, factual information on abortion, masturbation, and sexual orientation
  • Provides positive messages about sexuality and sexual expression, including the benefits of abstinence
  • Teaches that proper use of latex condoms, along with water-based lubricants, can greatly reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV
  • Teaches that religious values can play an important role in an individual’s decisions about sexual expression; offers students the opportunity to explore their own and their family’s religious values
  • Teaches that a woman faced with an unintended pregnancy has options: carrying the pregnancy to term and raising the baby, or carrying the pregnancy to term and placing the baby for adoption, or ending the pregnancy with an abortion


Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC)

Duncan worked in promoting the Annenberg Challenge, a radical education group formerly run by Barack Obama and Bill Ayers.   The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism.

[source 1, source 2]

Charter and Failing Schools

Duncan has earned praises from some quarters for his support of charter schools, his willingness to close failing schools, his support for greater student accountability, and his promotion of merit pay for teachers.


Record of Success

During Duncan’s tenure at Chicago Public Schools, the system spent the second highest amount per individual student in the nation yet only showed a very small improvement improved test scores.


Change Watch Backgrounder: Rahm Emanuel

by David Nammo

December 19, 2008

POSITION: CHIEF OF STAFF                                                        

BIRTH DATE: November 29, 1959

EDUCATION:  Emanuel graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981, and received a Master’s Degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985.

FAMILY:   Wife, Amy Rule; Three children: Zachariah Emanuel, Ilana Emanuel, Leah Emanuel

EXPERIENCE:  Rep. Rahm Emanuel is currently the White House Chief-of-Staff designate.  He has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois’s 5th District since January 3, 2003.  At the beginning of his second term, Emanuel received an assignment to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxes, trade, Social Security, and Medicare issues.  Additionally, Emanuel was appointed by then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005 and later as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2007.

Emanuel began his career with the consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action.  He worked on Democrat Paul Simon’s 1984 election to the U.S. Senate and in 1989 served as a senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M. Daley.  Emanuel served as a senior advisor to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998, after directing Clinton’s campaign finance committee.  In the White House, Emanuel was initially Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy.

After leaving the White House in 1998, Emanuel served as a managing director at Wasserstein Perella (now Dresdner Kleinwort), where he worked until 2002.  During that time, in 2000, Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) by then President Bill Clinton.

Abortion Record

Taxpayer Funded Abortion:  Emanuel supports taxpayer funded abortion and co-sponsored a bill that ensured access and taxpayer funding for abortion and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.  Prevention First Act. H.R.819;

Partial-Birth Abortion:  Emanuel voted more than once against the ban on Partial-Birth Abortion, despite the bill having an exception to save the mother’s life.  Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, H.R. 760, June 4, 2003,; S3, Oct. 3, 2003,

Parental Notification:  Emanuel supports allowing teenagers to be transported across state lines to obtain an abortion without a parent’s (or guardian’s) knowledge.  He voted against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act on two occasions.  The bill would have restricted the interstate transport of minors for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, if by doing so the minor would be evading a home-state parental notice or consent law.  H R 748, April 27, 2005,; S 403, Sept. 26, 2006,

Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Research:  Emanuel voted twice to expand federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research by amending the Public Health Service Act.  Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, H.R. 3, Jan. 11, 2007,; Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, H.R. 810, May 24, 2005,

Human Cloning:  Emanuel voted against a ban on cloning human beings and supported an amendment to allow human cloning for reproduction and medical research. H.R. 534 (H AMEND 5), Feb. 27, 2003,

Unborn Victims:  Emanuel voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (Laci and Conner’s Law), which proposed to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a child in the womb while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman. H.R. 1997, Feb. 26, 2004,

Emanuel received a 100% rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).


Homosexual Marriage:  Emanuel twice voted against a U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. H.J. Res. 88, July 18, 2006,; H.J.Res.106, Sep 30, 2004,

Sexual Orientation Special Rights:  Emanuel voted to add sexual orientation to U.S. civil rights law protecting against discrimination based on sex, race and religion.  The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would make it unlawful to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated.  H.R. 3685, Nov. 13, 2007,

Same-sex Benefits:  Emanuel co-sponsored the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2007, which would extend benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees.  H.R. 4838,

Emanuel received a 100% vote rating from the pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign.


Marriage Tax Penalty:  Emanuel voted against the bill that would have permanently removed the Marriage Tax Penalty from the federal income tax code.  The bill would have amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permanently extend the marriage penalty relief provided under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.  H.R. 4181, April 28, 2004,


Driver’s Licenses:  Emanuel voted against the Real ID Act, which set minimal security requirements for state driver’s licenses and identification cards. H.R. 418, Feb. 19, 2005,  

Illegal Aliens:  Emanuel voted against the Undocumented Immigrant Emergency Medical Assistance, which would have required hospitals to report (to the federal government) illegal aliens who receive emergency medical treatment.  H.R. 3722, May 18, 2004,