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Secretary Duncan to Step Down: What Teachers Need to Know
posted by: Alana | October 06, 2015, 09:57 PM   

Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a huge announcement last week when he announced he’s stepping down after 7 years in office. What does this mean for teachers? We’ve compiled some FAQs about the news below.


When is Duncan stepping down?
Duncan’s last month in office will be this coming December. Secretary Duncan will be known as one of the longest-serving members of President Obama’s cabinet.

Why did Duncan step down?
Duncan is stepping down to spend more time with his family. A native of Chicago, his wife and children moved back to their home town over the summer.

What is Duncan most known for?
In addition to what was arguably the most drastic expansion of power for an education secretary by way of allocating $100 billion in stimulus funds, Duncan has a long, often controversial resume:

  • Rapid expansion and promotion of public charter schools;
  • Promoting a national set of K-12 academic benchmarks for math and reading (aka Common Core);
  • Race to the Top competition and waivers for states from NCLB Act;
  • Holding teachers accountable for student progress by test scores;
  • Enrolling more low-income children in preschool;
  • Advocating investment in “wraparound services” such as medical care, mentoring, and family services;
  • Overseeing a major expansion of the department’s Office of Civil Rights;

What is the current state of education after his tenure?

  • High school graduation rates are at an all-time high.
  • Dropout rates are down.
  • The average math and reading scores in high school have flat-lined with only marginal improvement among 9 and 13 year olds according to federal testing.

Who’s taking Duncan’s place?
Former New York State Education Commissioner and current Senior Advisor to Delegated Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education Dr. John King will be filling in for Duncan. King was also a former charter school leader in Boston and New York who led a series of school reforms that included a new teacher evaluation system using student standardized test scores.

What will Duncan be doing now?
Duncan has declined to comment on his plans after leaving office.


AAE applauds Secretary Duncan for his leadership and we thank him for his service to our nation’s students and schools. We look forward to working with Dr. King in the future.


What do you think about this development?
Comment below.



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