secretary of education

secretary of education

Arne Duncan Confirmed as Secretary of Education

Yesterday, Arne Duncan assumed his official position as part of President Obama’s cabinet as Congress approved him for Secretary of Education. “Mr. Duncan, there is no question that schools across America can benefit from the same kind of fresh thinking that you have brought to the Chicago public schools,” said Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, as he instroduced Duncan to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

During the confirmation hearing Duncan announced “We must do better.”

We’ve yet to see an official plan for his tenure, but he has made it clear that priorities include merit-based pay for teachers and more robust pre-k programs. He also shared three goals with the Committee: Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Chooses Arne Duncan for Secretary of Education

It’s official. Barack Obama has nominated Arne Duncan, the current chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools, to serve as the Secretary of Education for his upcoming administration.

As the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan has taken some aggressive and controversial stands.  Here’s a rundown of Duncan’s qualifications and what he’s done in the Chicago Public Schools.

He was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University in 1987 with a degree in sociology. He was also the co-captain of Harvard’s basketball team. Duncan was Director of Chicago’s Ariel Education Initiative, an organization that seeks to create educational opportunities for inner-city kids through mentoring and tutoring, between 1992 and 1998, and then ran Chicago’s magnet school system from 1998-2001, when he then became the CEO of the Chicago Public schools. During his time as CEO he accomplished the following:

  • Duncan has strongly advocated charter schools and has closed down under-performing schools.
  • Duncan aggressively sought to improve attendance and dropout rates in the Chicago Public Schools.
  • Duncan supported a proposal to open a school for Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender students.

Duncan has quite a full schedule lined up for him over the next few years, with No Child Left Behind badly in need of reform, out of control tuition costs at public colleges and universities, and budget cuts at public schools across the country.

Barack Obama’s Top Contenders for Secretary of Education

President-Elect Obama has been busy putting together a new cabinet, and one of the most important choices is going to be his new Secretary of Education.  This new position is going to be extremely important since, thanks to the financial crisis and the uncertainty of the availability of student loans, college affordability has become an even more pressing issue than before.  In addition, the new Secretary of Education is going to have an important hand in cleaning up the No Child Left Behind Act, which both Republicans and Democrats agree needs some serious work.

All of this means that this could be an exciting and innovative new time for education in the United States!

So who should Obama pick?  According to U.S. News and World Reports, these are some of the possibilities.

1) Joel Klein

One of the front runners is rumored to be Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, which is the largest school system in the United States.  As chancellor, Klein has fought to increase teacher accountability and for the creation of charter schools. Read the rest of this entry »


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