President-elect Barack Obama announced on Dec. 16 his nomination of Arne Duncan, Chicago schools superintendent, for secretary of education.
In response to the news, Randi Weingarten released the following statement:
We are pleased that President-elect Barack Obama has selected Arne Duncan as his education secretary nominee. The position is as important as any other in the cabinet, particularly because the decisions we make today about education affect our children’s future as well as the health and well-being of our national democracy.
As Chicago schools’ chief executive officer, Duncan has shown a genuine commitment to what we see as the essential priorities for an incoming education secretary. There may be times when we will differ, but we believe we will agree fully that America’s students and teachers need an education secretary committed to focusing on real solutions for closing the achievement gap and providing every child with a rigorous, well-rounded education that prepares him or her for college, work and life.
Duncan has collaborated with the Chicago Teachers Union and other community partners on various reform programs to help students with the greatest needs. One of Chicago’s stand-out programs is a form of community schooling that brings a variety of wraparound services under the school roof, including tutoring, recreational and social service programs that extend through the evening hours.
This is a moment when our public schools face serious challenges, now exacerbated by steep budget cuts that often take the most severe toll on the most vulnerable students. We must invest, not divest, in our children’s education. America’s next secretary of education must fight to ensure that the investment is protected. The education secretary should deeply value public education, understand what works for schools and students, and collaborate with teachers and other community partners to improve education for all children. Arne Duncan has exhibited these qualities in Chicago, and we look forward to being a partner in that collaborative process on a national scale.
GothamSchools has a roundup of official statements regarding the Duncan pick.