Dec 17 2008

Obama Picks Arne Duncan for Education Secretary

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Arne DuncanPresident-elect Barack Obama has picked the chief of Chicago’s Public school system to be his Secretary of Education. Arne Duncan has headed the nation’s third largest school system since 2001 and is a friend and basketball partner of Obama. Duncan must be confirmed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to be formally accepted as Education Secretary. The choice of Duncan is an interesting one given the various competing ideologies on education. On the one hand, those who want so-called “education reform,” are looking for an Education Secretary who will hold schools and teachers accountable for student test scores and are in wary of teachers’ unions. On the opposite side are the unions themselves and their Democratic Party supporters. With Duncan’s appointment, it seems as though the reformers have been placated, rather than the unions, who preferred Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford University.

GUEST: Michael Klonsky, Chicago-based education activist and a leader in the “so-called” small schools movement. Read Klonsky’s blog at

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Obama Picks Arne Duncan for Education Secretary”

  1. Anion 18 Dec 2008 at 7:58 am

    I’m surprised that Arne Duncan’s connection to the militarization of schools was not discussed in this segment.

    Arne Duncan has presided over the greatest expansion of military programs in the high schools in Chicago. He not only is a supporter of the JROTC programs which exist in many cities across the USA, but he helped the founding of entire high schools devoted to military studies. Chicago today has three “military academies” devoted to the U.S. Army (Bronzeville; Phoenix; and Carver); one devoted to the U.S. Navy (Rickover, inside Senn High School); one devoted to the U.S. Marine Corps (the Marine Corps Military Academy High School on the city’s west side), and, this year, a new “Air Force” high school. The overwhelming majority of students at these high schools are minority students.

  2. Anion 18 Dec 2008 at 8:20 am

    Also to my knowledge he neither attended a public school nor has taught at one! It’s surprising that Obama picked him over Linda Darling Hammond- a real educator.