December 16, 2008

Obama names Arne Duncan next U.S. Secretary of Education

Duncan has called for doubling NCLB funding and adding more flexibility into the law

President-elect Barack Obama has named Arne Duncan, the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, as the next U.S. Secretary of Education, according to reports by The New York Times and Washington Post Monday night. Duncan has called for doubling funding for No Child Left Behind, and tempering the law’s teach-to-the-test rigidity with more flexibility.

“This could be the beginning of a promising new period for public education in this country,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “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.

Duncan will inherit significant baggage from the failed policies of the Bush administration. NCLB currently is underfunded by $71 billion.

“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.”



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