Obama names Arne Duncan next education secretary
Duncan has called for doubling NCLB funding and adding more flexibility into the law
President-elect Obama: “In the next few years, the decisions we make about how to educate our children will shape our future for generations to come. When it comes to school reform, Arne is the most hands-on of hands-on practitioners. For Arne, school reform isn’t just a theory in a book – it’s the cause of his life. And the results aren’t just about test scores or statistics, but about whether our children are developing the skills they need to compete with any worker in the world for any job. With his leadership, I am confident that together, we will bring our education system – and our economy – into the 21st century, and give all our kids the chance to succeed."
Arne Duncan: "Whether it’s fighting poverty, strengthening the economy or promoting opportunity, education is the common thread. It is the civil rights issue of our generation and it is the one sure path to a more equal, fair and just society. While there are no simple answers, I know from experience that when you focus on basics like reading and math, when you embrace innovative new approaches to learning, and when you create a professional climate that attracts great teachers -- you can make a difference for children."
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:“This could be the beginning of a promising new period for public education in this country. Arne Duncan has said before Congress that funding for NCLB should be doubled within five years, and that the law must be amended to give schools the maximum amount of flexibility possible. For too long, federal education policy has been about teaching to the test, and Duncan could use his new position to move beyond those failed policies, and provide every child with 21st century skills.”
In Chicago, Duncan set his sights on reducing the dropout rate, reducing school violence and creating successful new schools. His efforts have shown his commitment to quality public schools, Van Roekel said, and willingness to make decisive, bold changes.
Jo Anderson, Executive Director of the Illinois Education Association:"We applaud President-Elect Obama's choice of Arne Duncan to be the next Secretary of Education. In IEA-NEA, we have worked collaboratively with Arne Duncan on a number of ways to improve all Illinois public schools, including increased funding. In our experience, Arne Duncan is committed to working with others including the unions to promote excellence and equity in public education."
Duncan will inherit significant baggage from the failed policies of the Bush administration. NCLB is underfunded by $71 billion, and in economic downturns, school funding suffers.
“This is a challenging time for President Obama and for Secretary Duncan,” Van Roekel said. “We look forward to working together, along with parents and community leaders, to create great public schools for every student.”