Chicago Sun-Times
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Arne Duncan to be named Obama Education Secretary

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WASHINGTON--Another Chicagoan is joining the Obama administration with the expected appointment Tuesday of Chicago public schools chief Arne Duncan to be Obama's Education Secretary.

The appointment--confirmed to the Sun-Times by a transition official--adds Duncan to an Obama White House lineup that already includes a bevy from Obama's Chicago inner circle: Valerie Jarrett, incoming senior advisor; Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), chief of staff designate; Desiree Rogers, social secretary; David Axelrod, another advisor; Tina Tchen, public liaison chief and Michael Stratumanis, Jarretts's chief of staff.

Obama shares with Duncan a Harvard education and a passion for basketball--he was a player on Obama's Election Day pick-up game. He also was raised in Hyde Park-Kenwood community where Obama now lives. Duncan's father is on the University of Chicago faculty and he attended the U of C Lab School, where the Obama's send their daughters, Malia and Sasha.


Duncan beat out two educators who were also thought to be in the running: Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City Public Schools ( and an alum of the Clinton Justice Department) and Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University education professor.


I'm told Duncan had well connected boosters for the cabinet spot: John Rogers, his professional mentor, friend of 35 years and fellow U of C gym rat,and two others like Rogers close to Obama: Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Penny Pritzker, the Chicago business executive who was Obama's presidential campaign finance director.

Rogers, the Illinois Finance co-chair for the presidential campaign, is a co-chair of the Presidential Inauguration Committee. Pritzker is a co-chair of Obama's Transition Team.

After playing pro basketball in Australia, Duncan returned to Chicago to work for Rogers' foundation dedicated to helping educate underprivileged South Side youths.

"The cool thing about Arnie," Rogers said, "is that after school he would help his mother tutor kids."

Below, Duncan official bio. Source: Chicago Public Schools

Arne Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. He was co-captain of Harvard's basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American. From 1987-1991, Mr. Duncan played professional basketball in Australia, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.

Duncan returned to Chicago in 1992 to direct the Ariel Education Initiative, which seeks to create outstanding educational opportunities for inner-city children on the City's South Side. In 1998, he joined the Chicago Public Schools.

In June, 2001, Mayor Richard M. Daley named Duncan Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools.

Duncan currently serves on the Boards of the Ariel Education Initiative, Chicago Cares, The Children's Center, the Golden Apple Foundation, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Jobs for America's Graduates, Junior Achievement, the National Association of Basketball Coaches' Foundation, Renaissance Schools Fund, Scholarship Chicago and the South Side YMCA.

He also serves on the Board of Overseers for Harvard College and the Visiting Committees for Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. He was a fellow in the Leadership Greater Chicago's class of 1995, and a member of the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown Fellowship Program, Class of 2002. He has received honorary degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Lake Forest College and National Louis University.

In 2006, the City Club of Chicago named Duncan Citizen of the Year.

Arne Duncan, Chief Executive Officer

13 Comments

THIS DOESN'T SURPRISE ME, THEY SHOOT BALL TOGETHER
THEY ARE FRIENDS, ARNE ATTENDED HARVARD, SOME SAY
HE PLAYS A MEAN GAME OF BASKETBALL, HIS SPEECH IS
DRABBY THOUGH, I KINDA SAW THIS ONE COMING!
JUST GET RID OF THAT GARBAGE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
IT IS WORTHLESS, AND EVERYONE IN EDUCATION KNOWS
IT IS A WORTHLESS PIECE OF GARBAGE LEGISLATION!
I HOPE PAUL VALLAS DOESN'T RETURN TO CHICAGO!
HE WRECKED THE CHICAGO SCHOOLS!
BOTH OF THESE GUYS ARE BUSINESS MEN, THEY DON'T
HAVE SUPERINTENDENT CREDENTIALS, THAT'S WHY THERE
ARE SO MANY CHARTER SCHOOLS IN CHICAGO!
UNION BUSTING AT ITS BEST, THAT'S WHAT CHARTER
SCHOOLS ARE, IF YOU HAVE A DEGREE YOU CAN TEACH
AT A CHARTER SCHOOL, TO TEACH AT A CHICAGO PUBLIC
SCHOOL YOU HAVE TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS TO GET A
JOB, ONE IS IN A UNION THE OTHER ONE ISN'T!
THAT'S WHY THE GUYS IN DETROIT ARE IN TROUBLE,
THE SOUTHERN BOYS WHO BACK TOYOTA AND BMW, DON'T
LIKE THE UAW!

Appointing Arne Duncan as the Secretary of Education is probably the worst move Barack Obama will make.

Arne Duncan ran a school system which was not good enough for the Obama children to attend but he can run the nations schools.

Could this appointment really be the result of basketball and support during the campaign and not at all related to education experience, capability, and ability? Yes.

This might be a good day for Chicago Public Schools but the worst day for school children of America.

Ahhh Friends taking care of friends.

Shame Chicago Schools are in Shambles and That is Administrations Fault.

Now The Nation will end up the same way.


Did Duncan have any input or active in Anneberg college Thing?

In all of the articles I have read about this choice, there is nothing about what he has done for Chicago schools. They just keep reiterating that its the 3rd largest school system and that he and Barack played basketball together. Has he made any real changes for the city? This was the most important cabinet choice for me and I am not pleased by the reasoning behind his choice. What kind of leader is he? This seems like a "good 'ole' boy choice to me. This is the first cabinet pick that I am truly disappointed in.

If I was writing to Arnie Duncan, I would plea with him to consider an evolutionary educational program of years gone by.

I would ask him to take a strong look at WHY the Values Clarification and Values Exploration programs for Elementary and Junior High School programs in years gone was discontinued!

Was it because Corporate America, maybe even their parents didn't want any independent thinking happening in our schools? Who didn't want it take up any time from the indoctrination of data we implode our children with?

If we start where our children ARE...(even if our children start with their illusions about what occupations reflect their dreams) ... its a start to the personal motivation necessary to compliment and move beyond rote memory required of students.

Teachers would find their students much happier, working harder with these added incentive on behalf of children's minds and hearts!

Sincerely,

Linda Burkhead
Former Professional Recruiter and
Personnel Consultant

Desiree Rogers is one of those folks who I cannot listen to speak because she peppers all of her conversations with "you know".

HEY LINDA YOU AREN'T LOOKING TO COME OUT OF
RETIREMENT ARE YOU?
GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS


This is one of the most important position Obama is going to fill...our children, our future.
This person has never taught, what knowledge, experience does he have...none...nada.
I hope he uses his heart and brain and does not accept this position.
Please, please get a person that has knowledge and experience from the very basic...a teacher's experience and up.

we have had none experience person as board members, etc and have damaged the system instead
of helping our students and district.


This is one of the most important position Obama is going to fill...our children, our future.
This person has never taught, what knowledge, experience does he have...none...nada.
I hope he uses his heart and brain and does not accept this position.
Please, please get a person that has knowledge and experience from the very basic...a teacher's experience and up.

we have had non experience person as board members, etc and have damaged the system instead
of helping our students and district.

it really doesn't make any difference who the oba appoints. unlike the wright brothers, ain't nothing gonna fly with this post heroric media event presidency. next? two years down the road, billary will leave state and launch a challenge...ala kennedy/carter. mr. obama will then find his place in the pantheon of ralph bunch, ed brooke,whitney young, and a host of 'go along-get along'types. man of the year? yea. check that list friends...lol.

SORRY GUADULUPE IT IS A DONE DEAL!
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME, AND YOU DON'T WANT A PERSON
WHO HAS BEEN IN THE CLASSROOM FOR THIS JOB, THEY
WOULD BE TO BURNED OUT TO DO ANYTHING THIS VAST!
HE HIRED THE RIGHT GUY, HIS FRIEND, AND THEY BOTH
LIKE CHARTER SCHOOLS!
THEY BOTH ATTENDED HARVARD!
A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN A CLASSROOM TEACHER, A
PRINCIPAL, AN ADMINISTRATOR, A SUPERINTENDENT,
THAT PERSON IS RETIRED OR A FEW FRIES SHORT OF
A HAPPY MEAL!
THEY WOULD DO THE JOB NO JUSTICE, EDUCATION IS
A SERIOUS THING, YOUR CHILD MAY ACT ONE WAY
AROUND YOU, BUT AT SCHOOL SOME ACT LIKE THE GOV!

pill, will you get off that harvard thing, paleeze! first of all, there's harvard college, then there's all these professional schools, o.k.! obviously you don't get that. the unabomber also attended harvard. as did lynn for that matter...in different cycles and programs. and by the way, the 'one' went to harvard law, as well as columbia and occidental. he played high school basketball and that's it. and you can't see russia from his f...ing house, or from harvard, for that matter. "w" went to harvard b. school, gore, kennedy, the roosevelts and adams family graced the place. o.k.?

He has never taught and wants to extend the school year???? We are taking away recess and holding standardized testing on a pedestal. We are taking creativity and fun from our kids! I don't care what kind of position he has held, if he has not taught, he has no idea what it is like being in a classroom. If you think he does, then you need to rethink, and you have probably never been in a classroom. Also, just because you have taught doesn't mean you are burnt out or don't care. The people who stay in education 20 + years ARE the people who care the most about it. This is the silliest thing I have ever heard.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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