Duncan is one of the few original members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet who are still in office.
Obama has selected Deputy Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. to replace him. Obama praised Duncan’s contribution’s Friday at a news conference in the State Dinning Room.
“He’s done more to bring our education system — sometimes kicking and screaming — into the 21st century more than anybody else,” Obama said. “America is going to be better off for what he’s done.”
Duncan leaves the administration as the longest serving education secretary, Obama said.
“It’s a record that I truly believe that no other education secretary can match,” he said. “Arne bleeds this stuff. He cares so much about our kids. And he’s been so passionate about this work.”
While speaking about the impact his parents — both educators — had on their kids, Duncan got emotional.

“All our lives we saw what kids could do when given a chance and that’s why we do this today,” he said.
In an internal memo to Department of Education staff, Duncan cited the commute between his home and family in Chicago in announcing his departure and called his job “greatest honor of my life.”
“We have been lucky to have an a amazing team here from Day One, but I honestly believe our team today is the strongest it’s ever been,” Duncan wrote. “So it’s with real sadness that (I) have come to recognize that being apart from my family has become too much of a strain, and it is time for me to step aside and give a new leader a chance.”
Obama brought Duncan with him to Washington from Chicago, where he served as the city’s schools chief. He’s long been one of the president’s closest friends in the administration, their relationship forged in the days before either came to national prominence.
Duncan, along with Obama’s first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, formed a home-town crowd for the Obamas when they arrived to the White House. Jarrett remains in her post at the White House, though Axelrod and Emanuel have both returned to Chicago — Emanuel as the city’s mayor, and Axelrod as chair of a politics institute at the University of Chicago.

Duncan said he had not made a decision about his next steps besides spending time with his family and added …Read More