U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks during a Sept. 14 town hall meeting at North High School in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan plans to step down from his cabinet position by the end of the year, leaving the Obama Administration more than a year before the president’s term will end, according to two administration officials.
Duncan, who has led the nation’s education policy since the beginning of Obama’s presidency, has come under increasing criticism from both the left and the right. Congress, in pending legislation, has moved to strip his power, and in July 2014 delegates of the National Education Association called on Duncan to resign, citing policies they believed hurt teachers and education unions.
[Read Duncan’s e-mail to his staff, announcing his decision]
“We can confirm that President Obama will announce today that Education Secretary Arne Duncan intends to step down in December, and that the President has selected John B. King Jr., who currently acts as Deputy Secretary of Education, to replace him,” said a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.
[Even as Congress moves to strip his power, Arne Duncan holds his ground]
King is a Brooklyn native who worked as a teacher and co-founded a charter school in Boston. He joined the education department in January after a turbulent tenure as commissioner of education for the state of New York, a position he assumed in 2011. He was a key architect of new teacher evaluations tied to test scores and played a key role in pushing New York to adopt new tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards years before other states did the same.
King defended those moves, favored by Duncan and the Obama administration, even as they made him the target of public outrage. Parents saw their children’s test scores fall and teachers unions called for his ouster.
The move from Washington to Chicago — where Duncan grew up and later was the head of the Chicago Public Schools — appears to have been in the making for some time. Duncan’s wife, Karen, and his two children, Claire and Ryan, moved back to Chicago earlier this year to restart life in the city where they lived before then President-elect Barack Obama asked his old friend …Read More