Obama’s pick for Education secretary garners widespread praise

President-elect Barack Obama nominated Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan as Education secretary on Tuesday, picking an experienced executive who closed failing schools, embraced charter schools and negotiated a pay-for-performance program with teachers unions.

"For years we've talked our education problems to death in Washington, but we failed to act, stuck in the same tired debates that have stymied our progress, all along failing to acknowledge that both sides have good ideas and good intentions," Obama said.

Duncan has served as chief executive of Chicago public schools since 2001. Obama praised his embrace of diverse methods for improving education. Duncan is "not beholden to one ideology" but shares with the president-elect a "deep pragmatism in terms of how we go about" improving education, Obama said.

In Chicago, Duncan closed a failing school and reopened it as an academy where students learned from teachers pursuing degrees in higher education. He supported master teacher certification, backed public charter schools and linked teacher pay to school performance. Duncan has called education "the civil rights issue of our generation."

The choice pleased teachers unions and education reformers. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, lauded Duncan's collaboration with Chicago's teacher unions. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who has championed reform and tough accountability standards, called Duncan "a visionary leader and fellow reformer who cares deeply about students."

House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller said Duncan is "an experienced and accomplished leader who is open to the new, bold and innovative ideas needed to truly improve our schools." A spokeswoman for Education and Labor ranking member Howard (Buck) McKeon said Duncan "has earned a reputation as a reformer who's not afraid to shake up the status quo in order to improve student achievement, and his appointment is a welcome sign."

Congress has yet to tackle a reauthorization of President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation, and advocates and detractors of the bill say the 111th Congress needs to make changes to it. So far, lawmakers have been unable to agree on the best way to hold students and teachers accountable for results in the classroom. Unions have balked over proposed merit pay for teachers.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.