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Arne Duncan is Obama’s Choice for Secretary of Education

The Associated Press is reporting that Obama will name CEO of the Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan as his choice for Secretary of Education on Tuesday morning:

Duncan has run the country’s third-biggest school district for the past seven years. He has focused on improving struggling schools, closing those that fail. Obama highlighted this work by choosing for the announcement a turnaround story for Duncan — Dodge Renaissance Academy, a school Duncan closed and then reopened.

Duncan is a 1987 graduate of Harvard, magna cum laude, who played professional basketball in Australia for four years before returning to the United States to direct the Ariel Education Initiative, which focused on increasing educational opportunities for inner-city youth.  Apparently, Duncan is popular with both the pro-No Child Left Behind  faction and the teachers’ unions. 

Well, I’m a little disappointed.  I was hoping, in spite of indications to the contrary, that Obama would appoint someone whose major focus was reforming higher education.  I did find this quote from Duncan on the Huffington Post, in which he mentions student loans:

“Oh, there are lots of challenges and, obviously, huge opportunities,” Duncan said. “I think there’s a huge amount of work that has to go on on the early childhood side. There’s a huge amount you’ve got to do in the K to 12 sector. And higher ed, particularly the student loans, presents some huge, huge challenges.”

Not exactly a call to arms, and he could easily be talking about access to loans during the credit crunch rather than more radical reforms decreasing the necessity of huge debt loads for college students, but I will hold out hope until I’m proven wrong.  More as this one develops.

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  1. December 16, 2008 at 3:20 am

    First of all his assurances, was to remove or eliminate the Federal Educational Loan program and alternatively provide a fully refundable tax credit of $4,000 for college students and families, immediately on his assuming office. Good to hear! Just wondering on the likelihood of the assured scenarios!

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