DFER Statement On Arne Duncan's Selection As Education Secretary

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

December 16, 2008

In response to the selection of Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan to head the U.S. Department of Education in President-elect Obama’s administration, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), an organization that supports Democratic candidates committed to education reform, championed the selection and urged the incoming secretary to make good on the promises Obama made while campaigning for the presidency.

DFER was an early advocate of the selection of Duncan because of his commitment to education reform ideas and his experience implementing reform in the Chicago Public Schools.

“The Obama administration, with Arne Duncan at the head of the Department of Education, will lead the charge of breaking the existing ideological and political gridlock to promote new, innovative and experimental ideas in education,” said Joe Williams, executive director of DFER.

DFER believes Duncan represents the very best choice for the Secretary of Education with his long history of commitment to improving public education in the United States.  As CEO of Chicago Public Schools since 2001, Duncan has demonstrated that he understands that improving educational opportunities for children is a critical investment in our nation’s future.  Under Duncan’s leadership, Chicago has been at the forefront of school restructuring and improving teacher quality.  During his seven year tenure Chicago Public Schools have demonstrated sustained improvements in student achievement, graduation rates and college-going rates.

“During the long fight for the presidency Barack Obama made clear that education will be a central focus of his administration,” said Kevin Chavous, chairman of the DFER board. “In his speech in Grant Park in Chicago on election night President-elect Obama listed education in his top five priorities for his term in office.  He has promised to increase funding for charter schools, create a system for rewarding excellent teachers, and expand pre-K—all issues that DFER has campaigned rigorously in favor of.”