Arne Duncan, Priscilla Chan Discuss Next Steps for K-12 Education
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been out of office for months and is now working for the Emerson Collective, a philanthropic and advocacy organization. But on Wednesday, he sat down for an exit interview at the NewSchools Venture Summit here, with Jim Shelton, his former deputy. (Shelton was recently tapped to run the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Facebook-fueled education philanthropy. More on what they're up to these days below.)
Shelton started with an easy question: What is Duncan most proud of his over his seven-year tenure as secretary?
Duncan ticked off three things: pouring $1 billion into early childhood education, an all-time high graduation rate (fact check on administration's role in making that happen here), and increasing Pell Grants. Not on the list: The two K-12 initiatives he's best known for, the $4 billion into Race to the Top initiative and the $3 billion School Improvement Grant, both of which have yielded mixed results so far.
Shelton also wanted to know what Duncan sees as his three biggest failures.
Duncan ticked off one he's mentioned a number of times before—not being able to get Congress to go along with an even bigger investment on early childhood education. The fact that so many of our children enter kindergarten behind means "we're just setting our kids up for failure from the start," he said.
He also mentioned that the Obama administration failed to get immigration overhaul done and, therefore, didn't give immigrant kids a path to citizenship. "We could not get our Republican friends to back that," he said.
And he brought up another missed opportunity, the failure to get meaningful gun control legislation done: "In our worst nightmare we never imagined we'd have 20 babies killed and five teachers and a principal."
Not on Duncan's list of failures? Two things that many other folks would probably cite: requiring Arne Duncan, Priscilla Chan Discuss Next Steps for K-12 Education - Politics K-12 - Education Week: