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Duncan is Obama’s Education Secretary Pick

By Alyson Klein — December 15, 2008 1 min read

Arne Duncan, the chief executive of the Chicago school system and a basketball buddy of Barack Obama’s, is the president-elect’s pick for secretary of education, according to sources.

As Chicago schools CEO, Duncan tapped a panel to craft curriculum-based assessments to guide teaching, bolstered spending on anti-violence prevention measures, and tested out a program allowing teachers to evaluate one another.

Duncan supports the basic framework of the No Child Left Behind Act. In testimony before a congressional committee in 2006, he called on lawmakers to “maintain the law’s high expectations and accountability” but to amend the law “to give schools, districts, and states the maximum amount of flexibility possible.”

Duncan helped get a federal waiver allowing the Chicago school sytem to offer tutoring services mandated for students in struggling schools under the NCLB law, something it was not otherwise eligible to do because the district as a whole had not made adequate progress under Illinois benchmarks.

Duncan may also help the bridge the divide over education in the Democratic Party. He was the recommended choice for education secretary of Democrats for Education Reform and has won praise from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

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