Meet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan:
Hi. I’m Arne Duncan the Secretary of Education. Education’s been a life long
passion, calling for me. My mother started an inner-city
tutoring program before I was born. Along with my
sister and brother, I grew up as a part
of her program, and it was just an absolute
formative experience for me. So many of the lessons I learned
as a young child being a part of her program have really shaped
my educational philosophy. So after I went to college, I
played professional basketball in Australia for four years,
came back to Chicago to run an education non-profit called
the Ariel Foundation. I ran an “I Have a
Dream” program where, for six years I worked with a
group of students and their families to help those students
prepare to go to college. I worked with them from
6th grade to 12th grade. During that time I started a
small public school from the outside called Ariel Community
Academy that’s a very high performing neighborhood school
still today in Chicago, and then 10 years ago, I joined
the Chicago Public Schools. And for the past 7 and
half years I was a CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. So many great memories of
Chicago, and its been my home. So it’s a difficult move for
my wife and our two children, but we just feel so thrilled
about the opportunity, but I feel so lucky I have
the chance to work on something, obviously, I care
so deeply about, and to work for the President. President Obama’s just an
extraordinary visionary around education. I’ve been lucky to work with him
over the years and to call him a friend; and I think with his
leadership we have a chance to do something very, very
special here in America. And I really view education as
the civil rights fight of our generation, that we have a moral
obligation to do something dramatically better for
children and to do it now. Our children have one chance
at a quality education, and if we don’t provide it,
I think we perpetuate poverty, and we perpetuate
social failure. So this is an
extraordinary opportunity; but this is a fight to me that’s
about a lot more than education. It’s really a fight
for social justice. It’s the right thing
to do for children. It’s the right thing
to do for our economy; if we want to continue to
grow as a country we need an educated work force. And so this is a
huge opportunity, but I want to work with a
huge sense of urgency and do everything we can to get better,
to get better as fast as we can. Our children need and deserve
it, and our country needs it.

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