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White House officials have confirmed that Education Secretary Arne Duncan will step down from his position in December after a long tenure with the Obama administration to improve our nation’s school system.
He will be replaced by John B. Kings, Jr., the deputy secretary of education and former president of the University of the State of New York.
Duncan, who previously served as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools district, stepped into his role as United States Secretary of Education in 2009, and has since worked tirelessly to implement new legislation that would improve America’s education system. Earlier this week, Duncan delivered a powerful speech at the National Press Club luncheon where he addressed the nation’s mass incarceration problem and proposed the solution of investing more dollars into education and less on prisons.
Last December, he and former Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new program aimed at providing quality educational services to incarcerated youth, saying “students in juvenile justice facilities need a world-class education and rigorous coursework to help them successfully transition out of facilities and back into the classroom or the workforce, becoming productive members of society.”
Additionally, Duncan has worked alongside President Obama in his push for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and has shown his support in keeping our HBCUs alive.
In an interview with Black Enterprise’s Editor-in-Chief Derek T. Dingle, Duncan says, “We have no agenda other than to help us hit the president’s goal of leading the world in college graduation rates. I’m convinced we can only get there by continuing to support and strengthen our nation’s HBCUs, and so many do an amazing job of helping very, very at-risk, first-generation college-goers not just have access, but graduate.”
There’s no word on Duncan’s post-White House plans, but he admitted that the department will be in good hands under Mr. King, who previously served as a commissioner of education in New York State.