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December 16th, 2008
12:55 PM ET

Obama names education secretary

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/16/transition.wrap/art.tue.afp.gi.jpg caption="Arne Duncan listens Tuesday as President-elect Obama announces him as his choice for education secretary."]

President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated Arne Duncan, the head of the Chicago public schools, to serve as his administration's Secretary of Education.

"When it comes to school reform, Arne is the most hands-on of hands-on practitioners," Obama said. "For Arne, school reform isn't just a theory in a book - it's the cause of his life."

"When faced with tough decisions, Arne doesn't blink. He's not beholden to any one ideology - and he doesn't hesitate for one minute to do what needs to be done," Obama stated.

The president-elect made the announcement at a news conference in Chicago, Illinois. He was joined by Duncan and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

Duncan has headed the Illinois city's public schools district since 2001. It's the third-largest in the nation.

Like Obama, he is a graduate of Harvard University.

Duncan also worked for six years with the Ariel Education Initiative, which tried to create educational opportunities for inner-city students on Chicago's South Side.

Obama and Duncan often play basketball together, and Duncan was one of those who played with the president-elect in a game on Election Day.

Also Tuesday, the president-elect planned to meet with key members of his economic team.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Terry B

    I think that education is determined by many factors a few are the teachers, parents, and the student. I put the teacher first becaus the parent will get their kid to or kids to school(I hope) but if you take a lessons and teach with a passion for greatness rather than a passing grade maybe things can change. Theres to many teachers who eally dont care they complain about the pay well i understand that but im going to school to be a teacher and i know its not the best paying job. BUT im not doing it for the money ,im doing it because im sick and tired of seeing our youth fail at education, whether its the atmoshere at school, home and in goal, and dreams that they see would make them happy or atleast help them understand why this dream cant be or whats different route to get the same thing. You can quote me on this. `THERES THREE WAYS DO DO ANYTHING , A RIGHT WAY, WRONG WAY AND A SHORT CUT'. Our youth can be saved just have to find the way.

    December 16, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  2. Phyllis - Springfield, IL

    After making a statement of plausible deniability about inappropriate interactions with the Blagojevich administration, I see it's Chicago/Illinois politics as usual for Obama. Look out DC if you thought the Bush muck was beginning to come over the top of your hip weighters–it's time to upgade to the three quarter length! Please don't insult our intelligence when we all know how the game is played especially in the states stuck in the antediluvian mind set. I didn't vote for Rod either time, and yes, I voted as only 37% of the registered who although apathetic did manage to remember where their precinct was located. But I have to admit federal indictment looming and all Rod you have won me over! I am being to take a liking to Rod who I know had higher political aspirations. I thought maybe it was the hair that turned me off, but it was the fact that he was touting a change in politics which I knew was a myth. How dare the nation take Illinois politics into of all things ETHICS! Besides it is my understanding that in Chicago Schools it is taught that words have no meaning, so it is understandable that "Rod's job shouldn't be on the line for just something he said," per an overheard conversation by an AFSCME steward who is head and torso above the rest of us and educated by CPS!

    December 16, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  3. Tammy, Berwick. LA

    Anybody who can overhaul the disaster areas known as No Child Left Behind (or as I like to call it No Child Not Taught How to Pass High Stakes Testing) and public education K-12 as it exists in this nation is a winner in my book. Anything has to be better than the lunacy we've had for the last eight years. And remember, he was working under Bush administration policies in Chicago. Let's see what he is capable of creating on his own before we call it a disaster.

    December 16, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  4. annette florida

    I wish for a chance for college/vocational training for all people, why not set up free U. S. accred. computer/virtual high school/vocational/college. It could offer all generalized classes which could be completed by students after work or whenever they have time. If specialized classes were needed, they could get them at college or at workplaces. Since wages are being forced down GM and service jobs, no manuf. , a lot of computer technical jobs which were promised to replace manuf. jobs were outsourced to India. U.S., State, and local govt will have to cut professors jobs/salaries since tax revenues will continue to go down as wages are cut, but many of them were all for breaking the UAW, cutting workers wages, wonder how loud they will cry when it is their turn. Govt's will not be able to afford to continue what they are doing, prices have to deflate unless they do what K. Walls this blog 12/16 2:12 said; we have to get back some 20.00 an hour jobs $8 to 12 jobs will not support our current life style. Mr. Anderson, what about showing a piece about how workers had it before they were able to have unions, maybe we need to be reminded. thanks for listening

    December 16, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  5. EJ (USA)

    Arne Duncan is an excellent choice.

    December 16, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Actually schools in the deep south, like Alabama and Mississippi, are the worst in the nation. They rank number 49 and 50 when a comparison of schools are done. The Cabinet officers serve at the pleasure of the President so if the man can't do the job Obama will find someone else who can – until then we need to give the man a chance.

    December 16, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  7. Sharon Kitchen

    Could all the "evil"wallstreet,bankers,morgage companies and officals(CEO), in all catagories go back to re-education,after they have been through the court system.Please include
    cheney/bush after they complete jail ,after the ICC court rulings on their war crimes, crimes against humanity,etc.

    But on this topic, I think Obama is putting together a very smart cabinet and staff.
    Bush will be leaving such a mess.

    December 16, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  8. concern/denver Colorado

    Obama has done a great job with all his nomitations and yes Il schools are the worse ..but this man has improved them ...which only means if he can improve a bad school than he can really improve the whole system ...

    December 16, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  9. Larry

    What is the ratio of Illinois selections by obama compared with other states?

    December 16, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  10. K Walls

    Millions of Americans are looking for jobs and millions are under employed. Looks like we need economic education for politicians showing that since 70's as import tarriffs were eliminated US companies moved manufacturing to foreign countries with slave and child labor. No amount of education or infra structure investments will restore the US standard of living in the industrialized world to 1980 levels.

    December 16, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  11. earle,florida

    Same mindset (Harvard), and it fits perfectly with Chicago's (IL) great public school system (Ranks right up there with TX, FL,AL,MS,and LA) which makes me all the more optimistic about ,"The Change President"?

    December 16, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  12. JC- Los Angeles

    I had no idea our country was still educating; judging from the endless list of failed leaders, executives and politicians, a complete overhaul of education seems appropriate.

    December 16, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  13. Cindy

    UMM..aren't Chicago schools ranked some of the worst in the nation? So why would you appoint someone in charge of them to be in charge of the whole system? Makes no sense to me!

    Cindy...Ga.

    December 16, 2008 at 1:05 pm |