FedTracker: Obama picks Chicago neighbor to head Education
President-elect Barack Obama has picked Arne Duncan, superintendent
of Chicago's public school system, to be Secretary of Education and to
spearhead the new administration’s attempts at education reform.
That’s been a long-time aim of the incoming president. It was a
major part of his campaign platform, and in his Grant Park election
night speech in Chicago, Obama called it one of the top five priorities
for his administration.
He’s promised to spend up to $18 billion a year in new spending for
various issues, including improvements for early childhood education,
hiring thousands of new teachers, and extending teacher
Duncan first became involved in education issues in 1992, when he
headed the Ariel Education Institute, which looks to improve the
educational opportunities for Children in Chicago’s South Side. He
joined Chicago Public Schools in 1998, and became its chief executive
In nominating Duncan, Obama said the reform that he had overseen in
Chicago would bring a “hands-on” approach to his job as Education
“For Arne, school reform isn’t just a theory in a book,” Obama said.
“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.” Obama developed his
political career in Chicago.
Duncan called education “the civil rights issue of our generation.”
However, various published reports pointed out that Duncan has
little experience of the national political stage, which could prove a
problem when trying to represent the Obama administration’s views on
education to Congress, state school systems and the myriad of other
interest groups in the education arena.
Posted by Brian Robinson on Dec 17, 2008 at 12:12 PM